Autism champion raises awareness

Aaron Sullivan SUS-170728-100810001
Aaron Sullivan SUS-170728-100810001

Observer readers may recall a story we covered in 2014, about an autistic boy who wanted to become a spokesperson for people with Autism in his area.

Aaron Sullivan, then aged 17, felt strongly that autistic people with gifts and talents were not being well represented or supported fully in some educational settings and work environments across the county, so lobbied local MP Amber Rudd, in a bid to raise funds and awareness of the difficulties autistic people faced when trying to access education and work.

Now Aaron has set up his own business ‘Aspie Rational Talks’ giving motivational talks to Parents, Schools, Colleges, Public Services, Employers and Organisations, in a bid to promote the vast talents those with autistic spectrum condition frequently have and to promote diversity.

Aaron says: “Our moto is, Raising awareness, Embracing Difference, Inspiring change.”

For the past six years, Aaron has volunteered as an ambassador at both his secondary school and his further educational placement, where he has helped teachers with their training and autism awareness, as well as being a mentor for students in their transition from secondary school into further education.

Aaron’s new business brings all that volunteering experience together and is the next development in his quest to help others that face the very unique challenges those on the Spectrum experience.

Autism Sussex said: “Aaron and his mum are fantastic ambassadors for people with autism spectrum condition, in that they both have a personal understanding of what it’s like to be on the spectrum and are able to articulate that in a way that others will be both informed and inspired.

They are an inspiration and their ability to find innovative and practical solutions for supporting people with ASD are second to none and that’s because they know exactly how it is!”

In an upcoming Autism workshop, launched by Community links (Southdown Housing) Aaron will be giving a motivational talk and answering questions from people with Autism, who are struggling to find work or access to tailored support.

Aaron said: “I’m really aware of the mental distress felt by many who are overlooked or not considered for work placements that would be ideal for them, just because they are different.

“Many Aspies are reliable, loyal, hardworking, creative, are analytical and have excellent problem solving skills, yet these skills are simply not being recognised by enough employers and that needs to change.

I hope through my endeavours, however small, I can make a difference to those like me and in turn, help those with mental health problems that very often have been exacerbated by their exclusion from the working world.

Autistic people have a lot to offer to the community and I’d like to help them; and employers, realize what an asset they can be to business and enterprize.”

Community Links are already fully booked for this ‘Autism and Employment’ workshop, but due to the overwhelming demand, they plan to run this event again in the near future.

To register your interest, please e-mail Community Links or Aspie Rational Talks and ask to be put on the waiting list for the next event.

Additionally, if you have and organisation that would like to book a talk from Aspie Rational Talks, as part of your staff training or enrichment, go to www.aspierationaltalks.co.uk

Around 700,000 people in the UK are on the autism spectrum, accordin to the national Autistic Societ y. Together with their families, this means autism is a part of daily life for 2.8 million people.

You can find out more by visiting the website www.autism.org.uk.

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1 Make our website your homepage at www.hastingsobserver.co.uk

2 Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/hastingsobserver

3 Follow us on Twitter @HastingsObs

4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

The Hastings Observer - always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.