This week I have privilege to speak with Jeanette Purkis, an autism advocate, author, renowned public speaker, radio presenter, group facilitator and the 2016 ACT volunteer of the year. Jeanette shares her personal story of growing up feeling “a bit different”, trying to “fit in” and being secluded and bullied by her peers. Jeanette shares how a late diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of 20 gave her a sense of identity and belonging, as well as opening the door to the autism community. Jeanette shares her thoughts of how a later diagnosis ultimately led her down a different path in life, the importance of focusing on strengths to build self esteem, and how with commitment and resilience you can achieve extraordinary things.
5 Rapid-Fire Questions
1. What is one habit parents can implement today?
Focusing on strengths and positives is really important. This may not only improve your child’s life, but it may very well improve your experience of life.
2. What do people never ask you that you wish they did?
Jeanette is consistently asked questions and does not believe there is anything in particular that needs to be said. She welcomes the questions and answers accordingly.
3. What book would you recommend all parents read?
M Is For Autism by The Students of Limpsfield Grange School and Vicky Martin.
4. What is one of your top 3 unfinished bucket list items?
I do not have a bucket list. I live my bucket list every day. I should not have been here. I should not have been here many times. Every day since year 2000 is a big walking bonus. I am the luckiest most grateful person I know, which is awesome.
5. If you could only offer one piece of advice to parents, what would it be?
Understand that their language, the way they understand, interpret and respond to the world may be different from yours – and that is okay. If you can actually learn to understand where they are coming from that would make everything easier.
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So….until next fortnight, I encourage you to open your mind, respect the differences and above all believe that YOU can make a difference from homebase!
With love and hope,
*You should always seek a health practitioner’s advice before starting any new health practice.