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Ros Blackburn


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#1 nellie

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 05:54 PM

Hi everyone, I havn't posted for a while, I've recently started work full time and I'm completly overwhelmed with washing and ironing...... :angry:
Well , today i meet Ros Blackburn, it was an amazing hr and 1/2. Has anyone else meet her or seen her speek? :yahoo:

#2 Mozzy

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 06:02 PM

Not yet but I am with my Psychologist at a talk or confrence or something. I can't wait

#3 nellie

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 07:07 PM

Hi Munchkin, she's an amazing women, you must get to see her if you get the chance.

nellie :applaud

#4 Clare

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 05:26 PM

I went to a Ros Blackburn talk with WG on Saturday - followed by some serious retail therapy :excellent

It is a good talk, but i didnt agree with everything. BUT, saying that - she doesnt lead our life and I dont lead hers so i am not going to agree with everything she thought best. She works the best she can with her life and autism and i run our life as best i can with my life and autism.

If anyone can go to one of her talks, i would say do try and go. :)

#5 fatcat

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 06:28 PM

Who is Ros Blackburn?

Lisa x

#6 Mozzy

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 06:45 PM

From a couple of websites for you

Ros Blackburn was diagnosed at one year old as severely autistic but with average intellectual ability. Now 36, she is a highly respected international speaker on autism, and her talks are entertaining as well as being extremely informative. Although she feels that many areas of her autistic condition have remained very severe, others, such as her severe language delay, have disappeared almost completely.


Ros Blackburn, a highly articulate British woman diagnosed with autism at just over one year of age, entertained and informed her audience with invaluable insights into her condition.

"I happen to be blessed with autism," Ros began. "I was diagnosed as severely autistic 34 years ago. What are the differences between autism and Asperger's syndrome? There are endless differences. It is almost easier to pinpoint the similarities. People with either condition get very, very anxious. But a big difference is that, unlike individuals with Asperger's, I do not get embarrassed. I can act anything, and have been beautifully trained in a lot of areas. I have been taught to shake hands, but when a child put his hands out once, I shook it instead of offering sweets. After that, whenever a hand came out, I would rush off to in a sweet to put in it. I had to learn more specific rules. I assumed they knew I had sweets in my hands because I knew it.

"I learnt to lie - the hardest thing of all for me. I am meticulous, but I have learnt to say 'Nice to meet you' even when I would really rather be trampolining!"

Ros pointed out that the difficult area for her was "the social stuff ... I don't feel the slightest bit nervous giving these talks in front of hundreds of people. The frightening part is standing around talking at the buffet, checking into the hotel, coming into this building for the first time. This talk is structured and predictable, so much more so than the buffet reception. It's on my terms now. I can talk about what I want to. I also know where the door is - I can leave whenever I want to.

"I am in control, ultimately - and this is a key point. The word 'control' is almost synonymous with autism. We are forever manipulating, putting objects wherever we want them. We are control freaks."

Ros noted that many people with autism did not have an intellectual learning disability. "This is very different from mental retardation. I cannot dress independently, I cannot cross the road or cook food independently. But intellectually, I could pass a maths exam. Whereas my brother does have a learning disability.

"So why, if I can be shrewd, is my bracket so limited? Maybe it is because I cannot work out what is going on in the world around me. I can't piece sensations together. How often are people with autism given the time to put all the pieces together? Virtually never! This has nothing to do with the intellect. I just need masses of times."

Like most people with autism, Ros has problems with transitions. "Think of the massive transitions involved in eating a meal. The taste, the temperature, the noise of the food inside my head, the texture, the shapes and patterns of the food. I do not have a sense of smell. I am severely dyspraxic, so it takes me a very long time to eat with a knife and fork.

"I have found various coping strategies, ways of being in control. I indulge in routines. Do we allow autistic children to indulge in these routines? We have to apply common sense.

"In so many ways, there is nothing strange about autism. We are all human. It is true that a huge part of your role as professions or carers is to impart information. But even more important is to equip people with autism with coping strategies. Expose them to lots of different situations. Help them see the whole, rather than the detail (I still have difficulties with this). I am also a word 'junkie' - it is non-verbal communication I find hard.

"Behaviour is not the issue in autism, as far as I am concerned. Education depends on the assumption that people go down the same channel - whereas more often than not, people with autism go off on tangents. Never make excuses for autism - that is utterly futile and a waste of learning opportunities."

Ros concluded: "It is not easy having autism. The choices I now have available to me are there because my parents did not let me shred paper or smear stuff on the floor."



#7 Rosebud

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 04:29 PM

never heard of her before she sounds a ticket though B)

will look out for that name in the future

#8 The Rambler

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 03:07 PM

should have known to look on here. going to a talk on Thursday Logically Illogical with Ros Blackburn, here came up when put the name into google.

#9 Clare

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 03:35 PM

Logically Illogical with Ros Blackburn



That was the talk WG and I went to :)

#10 Jolly Roger

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 07:34 PM

I heard her speak this morning. She is very controversial.

Her views on high functioning autism and Asperger's Syndrome are very forthright, and would offend one or two people ("it is ridiculous to put them in the same box.") She actually said that she feels she has more in common with NTs than with Aspies - and she is low functioning in many respects - except, obviously, for her ability to describe and communicate her experiences.

She didn't pull her punches on her opinions about many diagnoses of autism.

She also said a few things about parenting, in her own inimitable style, that show little sympathy for those parents who have passed beyond the frazzled edge of what any mere mortal can put up with - she is aware of much of what her own parents put themselves through in order to push her to achieve her potential, and seems unable or unwilling to tolerate anything less from other parents.

She rejected things that insulate an autistic person from the real world: instead, coping mechanisms, acclimatisation, immersion into reality and the school of hard knocks were strongly recommended. Take no prisoners, don't allow autism to be an excuse, but instead "overcome the difficulties it causes."

She gave no indication that she understood the human cost paid by NTs for this approach - she can describe many of the hardships her parents and family endured, but that is very different to comprehending it fully, especially the impact it had on them socially, mentally and psychologically. She made it explicitly clear on many occasions that she didn't understand these things, and wasn't interested in them either. But as an advocate of this approach, having clearly benefitted from it, she is compelling to listen to.

As someone who spends my working life dealing with autistic children who have been appeased in order to give their parents an easier time, but has to endure autistic behaviours in my own home as well, I am torn between enthusiastically embracing what she says - and rejecting it as the uninformed rant of someone clinically incapable of appreciating the nature of what she is demanding.

Having said that, she provided an insight into autism that I have not seen or heard from anywhere else - including books.

#11 Mozzy

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 08:10 PM

I like her a lot.

My Psychologist says I have a lot in common with her, I am not sure of this but I do like a lot of her views and approaches to Autism.

#12 Lux

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 08:19 PM

Fascinating thread. Thanks.

#13 Jolly Roger

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 08:38 PM

It's her views on NTs and what she appears to expect of us that are most controversial.

She is right that it is absolutely unacceptable for one autistic person to control everything that goes on in their family. I absolutely agree with her that autistic people need to learn to accept disappointment, postponement, the word "No" and having to wait.

But for all the passion, emphasis and moral imperative in her speeches telling NTs to teach these things and push autistic people to achieve their potential, I saw no evidence that she comprehended the implications of her demands.

She is making the right demands - don't misunderstand me. I will not suggest or imply that the rights of an individual with autism to experience and learn to live in the "real" world should be swept aside. But neither should the rights of parents and carers.

From the very beginning of ASDFriendly, MissMac & I have made a point of defending and promoting the rights of parents and carers. I will not attempt to shirk or reject a parent's responsibility for their disabled child - but neither will I support any suggestion that parents should be expected to sacrifice everything for their child - autistic or not. That is not the way human beings work. There is a limit to what can and should be asked of parents.

I'm sure that if I could discuss this with her, she would agree - not all parents have the same resources as hers, not all are as capable as they obviously were. She also made it clear that she was speaking from her own perspective alone. She wasn't there to stick up for parents of autistic children. The divorce rate, destruction of family homes, mental health problems and emotional disaster areas that autism creates are not on her agenda. They are on mine - that is why I disagreed with that element of her speech.

At one point in her speech, Ros said that her parents chose to have children, and there was a chance one would be disabled. That is a chance you take, and you accept the responsibility if your number comes up. I agree. But no-one, not even the autistic offspring, benefits if the well-being of parents and carers is not defended.

I believe that the way to help autistic people to achieve their potential and enjoy a good quality of life is by first protecting the quality of life of their parents and families. The family does the majority of the work raising a child. Ros acknowledged that.

What struck me as missing from her understanding is just how fragile the family is when autism is introduced to it, and just how capable autism is of biting the hand that feeds it.

#14 Lux

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 08:58 PM

I guess maybe she cannot imagine what life/a home without autism in it is like in order to make the comparison?

The balance between pushing/supporting my son to reach his potential and overcome his fears, dealing with the system not geared up to help him, and trying to find my life in all of that is one I struggle with daily, as do we all.

I love the fact that you are convinced, GOM, that you could change the mind of a self-confessed control-freak if you had ten mins with her :whistle

I think the value of hearing people speak about their own experiences of having ASD is that it challenges our perspectives, and that is really important in moving forward in how we approach ASD as a society, and in how we deal with living with autism.

#15 Mozzy

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 09:01 PM

I do agree with you but maybe her narrow views just highlight the black and white thinking of an Autistic brain, all or nothing approach.




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