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Home > News > Blogs > Guest Bloggers

Guest Bloggers

Guest Bloggers

Lizzie Ashworth

Scott McIntyre

Hi, I’m Scott. I live in Eaglesham with my wife Karen, two kids and too many pets.

I am the Director and of Vanilla Ink Jewellery School & Studios in Glasgow. Myself and my business
partner Kate aim to educate, inspire and empower the jewellery trade.

I’ve been consumed by the darkness of mental health problems for the majority of my life, often writing
about my struggles, which I use as a form of therapy.

Last December, I was diagnosed with autism, one week before my son was too. I like to write about a
variety of subjects, from the serious to the light. I’ll probably attempt to be funny, but I’ll fail badly.

Steve O'Connor

Hi my name is Steve O'Connor, I am a singer/songwriter from Liverpool, a city with a rich and cultured musical heritage. It wasn't until I moved to the highlands of Scotland where I lived for many years that I taught myself to play the guitar by writing songs. Scotland gave me all the visual and spiritual inspiration I could ask for to hone the gift of songwriting and some years later inspired me to pen and record the song "Hail Caledonia"  a tribute to Scotland, it's people and culture, a song which took me to New York City to perform live for the Tartan week celebrations, this song is my gift in return.  I continue to write and record the latest recording being "Just Me(Sam's Song)" which I hope will help challenge the misconceptions and ignorance that surrounds autism these days.

Emma Stanley

Hi, I am Emma and welcome to my monthly blog. I am on the autism spectrum and was diagnosed in the year 2000 at 25 years old. I was born in England and in the 80’s I moved from England to Scotland because my dad got promoted. I am writing this blog because I feel there is not enough for women with autism, and I just want other women to know they are not alone and that anything is possible. I found it very hard at first when I was diagnosed but now I know that it is a part of me and that I am stuck with it. I am trying to be supportive of other women with autism, the men will get a mention but this blog is mostly for women with autism. Each month I will talk about, well anything goes, but mostly issues affecting women with autism and things I am interested in - the “b” word for buses and the “t” word for trains are banned from this blog!

Rebecca Noble

David Mitchell

David Mitchell's first novel, GHOSTWRITTEN, was published in 1999, when it won the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. His second, NUMBER9DREAM, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize as well as the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and in 2003 he was chosen as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists. CLOUD ATLAS, his third novel, won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the South Bank Show Literature Prize, and the Best Literary Fiction and Richard & Judy Best Read of the Year categories in the British Book Awards, as well as being shortlisted for a further six awards including the Man Booker Prize and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. It was followed by BLACK SWAN GREEN, which was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award and longlisted for the Man Booker. His most recent book, THE THOUSAND AUTUMNS OF JACOB DE ZOET, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2010. 

Born in 1969, David Mitchell grew up in Worcestershire. After graduating from Kent University, he spent several years teaching in Japan, and now lives in Ireland with his wife and two children.

John Williams

John is a dad. He's also a comedian and a blogger. He trained at Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama until they chucked him out. 'My Son's Not Rainman' is his first solo show and his blog is the first thing he has written since leaving school far too many years ago.

Katie Kearns

My name is Katie Kearns. I am aged 13 and attend mainstream High School in the Highlands. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with high-functioning autism. Among my interests are computers and video gaming. I enjoy using PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones, and often play online games such as Roblox.

As well as liking video games, I am also interested in the history of gaming and have researched it in books, magazines and online. I find it fascinating to trace the development of video games and consoles, and to see how far they have advanced.
Technology as a whole fascinates me. I feel very comfortable with it and look forward to further advancements.

Over the coming months, I will be reviewing some of the latest video games. I hope you enjoy reading my articles. 

Jemma Byrne

I’m Jemma Byrne, I'm 21 years old and a final year Psychology undergraduate at the University of Glasgow. In addition to being a student, I’m also a twin (though we’re definitely not identical-he’s got a much deeper voice and thicker eyebrows), I’m also a self confessed cake-a-holic and movie enthusiast, I would happily live in the cinema with a lifetime supply of cake! During the summer, for my 21st birthday, I was lucky enough to visit Las Vegas and discovered that it's my favourite place ever! (It's a place where there's lots of cake and where a lot of movies have been filmed-it was inevitable that I was going to love it!). 

However I was also lucky enough to do something else that was pretty special during the summer, I had the privilege of conducting a research project with Scottish Autism. Under the guidance of their Researcher in Residence, Joseph Long, I investigated the role of social networking in the lives of people with autism to produce a research report for others to refer to for information and guidance. It was a unique and rewarding experience and it is amazing to know that a report that I have worked on could help to inform others.

Ianthe Sutherland

My name is Ianthe Sutherland and I live in Edinburgh which I love so much despite the ridiculous weather - having grown up in Africa it's quite a stark contrast! For those of you who are wondering, Ianthe comes from Greek Mythology and is pronounced Eye-an-thie. There were actually quite a few Ianthes but the one I'm named after was so beautiful that when she died the God's made violets grow from her grave (Ianthe means purple flower in ancient Greek).

I'm a wannabe athlete who dreams of being able to run fast and be within the "healthy" BMI range! My running journey started in Spring 2011 and I'm currently training for all the half marathons I have scheduled in 2014. My wonderful nephew Cole is on the autism spectrum and it means a lot to me to be able to give back to Scottish Autism by fundraising in all the races that I sign up for.

Yvonne Daly

Hi. I'm Yvonne Daly and live with my 22yr old son in Glasgow. I used to run a small charity for young people on the autism spectrum and it struck me recently that not enough has changed since my son was diagnosed 15yrs ago. Yeah, sure more organisations have jumped on the autism bandwagon and state they are qualified to give advice but my motto from my wee charity was 'There are too many professionals out there and not enough experts' WE THE PARENTS are the experts and know our children best.

I still get parents phoning me asking for advice and support as they are still facing the same barriers, ignorance and prejudice I faced navigating my way through the various systems - education, health, employment and society in general. We still have to shout to be heard even though it feels we are drowning in a sea of despair and should be concentrating on just getting a breath of air as we surface. It astounds me at the lack of awareness still out there despite the fact that there will be someone on the spectrum in every street, in every school and in every workplace nowadays. Yes life is a struggle and every age brings it's own unique set of challenges and worries but as every Mother would agree, it just makes you love them and appreciate them all the more - oh - and chilled white wine always helps!

I read recently that mothers of autistic children experience the same amount of stress as a combat soldier! I can totally relate to that and a couple of years ago sought help for my son and I through hypnosis to help alleviate some of the stress we were both experiencing (when wine just wasn't enough!) As it was so successful I qualified as a hypnotherapist myself and am in the process of setting up my own business.

I hope you enjoy the poem and I hope many of you will agree that no amount of studying textbooks on autism will help you fully understand what's in a Mother's heart.

Gordon Barlow

Hi, my name is Gordon Barlow. I am 21 years old and I live in Fife. As a frequent visitor of the One Stop Shop in Fife, I have benefited hugely from attending the 16+ social drop in and the walking group. In the little spare time I have left over, I like to read, watch Eastenders, meet new people and explore new ventures.

Since completing the One Stop Shop's social skills for employment workshop, I have recently gained a voluntary administration placement at a local charity. Becoming a volunteer has provided an outlet to use and develop new skills and has proved to be a rewarding and enlightening experience.

The One Stop Shop has become a very important aspect of my life and I now attend more and more of the groups, activities and assorted events. One of the groups I have recently joined is the One Stop Shop Involvement Group which meets monthly to discuss the activities at the One Stop Shop and affords members to be more involved in the newsletter and Facebook pages which publish information about what is going on. As a member of this group I conducted an interview with Debi Brown. 

It was a really profitable discussion, which shone light on a vast array of issues, giving me much to reflect on and plenty worth sharing with all who would gain from Debi’s experience. Enjoy!

Hannah Farquhar

I'm Hannah Farquhar, I'm 19 years old and I'm currently studying Speech and Language Therapy at the University of Strathclyde. I enjoy swimming, running and eating chocolate (very counter-productive I know!). I am enjoying student life, and I am spending my summer working at a Christian outdoor centre on the west coast of Scotland, and with no neighbours for miles it could not be more different from Glasgow! 

My younger brother Luke has low functioning autism, and as big sister, growing up with such a unique character around has given me a lot of first-hand experience with autism. Like other siblings I have endured many ups and downs (but mainly ups!). I have written a short article discussing life with Luke and my experiences growing up. I hope you enjoy reading it and if you are also a sibling I hope you can relate some of my experiences to your own - it is always nice to know you are not alone!

Dale Proud

My name is Dale Proud. I was born in Newcastle but now I live in Lochgelly. I live in my own house with my cat, Chas. I don’t like sharing a house because it makes me feel uneasy. So I am happy to live in my own house with my staff there when I need them. I like my independence. 

I met Chas at Sunny Harbour Cat Rescue. I volunteer there on a Tuesday night playing and cuddling the cats and on a Wednesday I help in the shop. I stock the shelves and help to clean. I enjoy this and it makes me feel helpful. Chas is 8 years old and is big and black. He likes to sleep beside me and likes lots of hugs and playtime. I have a special bond with Chas. I love him. I also have a black goldfish called Stripes. I like watching my fish swim around. It helps me to relax. I take good care of my pets. 

I have lots of hobbies. I like shopping online, going on holidays and trips, building model cars, baking and cooking. I also like going to concerts. I have been to Bruce Springsteen, Simple Minds and will be going to see Take That later this year. I can’t wait!

Max McIlmunn

My name is Max McIlmunn, and I'm an IT graduate from the University of the West of Scotland. My younger brother, Sam was diagnosed with autism at an early age while I was diagnosed more recently, so it was certainly an interesting contrast of experiences growing up, particularly at school. He went to schools with specialist units, while I went to entirely mainstream classes. Unlike your typical sibling rivalry, my brother and I have been pretty much inseparable, often working together on projects and the like, even taking the same uni course at the same time.

I have quite a bit of a thing for film, animation and videogames, and have been fortunate enough to have been able to develop skills in live action and animated film at Project Ability. More recently, I have also assisted with some of the workshops there, helping young people with their own projects. This love for films extends quite naturally to my social life, where I frequently attend, and occasionally organise movie nights with my friends, where we watch all kinds of movies - from Welles to Wiseau - have a lot of fun, and geek out over all the behind the scenes technical stuff that hardly anyone else would really notice or care about. I also dabble frequently in music, visual effects and Photoshop.

Brodie Millar

Hello, I'm Brodie Millar, and I'm a 15 year old student attending the Waid Academy in Anstruther.

I find that at school the subject of autism is largely misunderstood; I am trying to change that for the better. 

In my spare time, I play chess and draughts with my dad, take long walks with my two dogs and play video games.

Alison Hood

My name is Alison and I am a former Accountant who now owns a vintage shop in Glasgow’s West End. I love music, travelling and photography. I have supported Scottish Autism for over 11 years and was made an honorary member a few years ago. I love fundraising and I spend most of my weekends volunteering for Scottish Autism, raising awareness and collecting funds. I have done every kind of fundraising you can imagine from organising parties to bag packing. I support Scottish Autism because there are so many people affected by it and more awareness is needed. Every time I fundraise I meet people either affected by autism or relatives of those affected and often hand out leaflets for the Advice Line. It makes fundraising for Scottish Autism all the more worthwhile.

Emma Wilson

Hi, my name is Emma Wilson. I am a 26 year old female with Asperger’s Syndrome. I like to play video games on the Xbox when I am not at university. The kind of games I enjoy are racing but I am also a big fan of Grand Theft Auto. I have a Labrador called Talulah, who I have had since she was a puppy. She is my first ever dog. I don’t see having Asperger’s Syndrome as a disability but more of an ability as it has enabled me to achieve so much.

Sarah Dickinson

My name is Sarah Dickinson, I am 29 years old. I receive support from Scottish Autism’s Lothian and Borders Outreach Service. I am a big fan of stand up comedy and enjoy going to see gigs at the Edinburgh Fringe. I go to see these with my support staff, my sister and as part of the social group. I have written reviews of comedy gigs for Scottish Autism’s newsletter in the past and did this for the Edinburgh Fringe 2014. I hope that you enjoy reading them.