Autism, William and the other end of the spectrum
Some people have asked us why we chose to do our Round Britain sailing challenge to support The National Autistic Society. To understand why, you need to meet William. William is our nephew and he is severely autistic. This photo was taken a few years ago – he is 21 in August – but in many ways it could be today as he still cannot talk, still will only go out in public wearing his headphones (if he wants to go out, that is) he still isn’t fully toilet trained, he head bangs and can be violent, even towards his devoted family but equally he is handsome, adorable, will high-five you and give face rubs (if he wants to) and, most of all, he is an important part of our family.
William is at the other end of the spectrum from many high functioning autistic youngsters sometimes shown on tv. His behaviour is challenging and life is confusing and frustrating for him as he has to try and understand our world but really only wants to be in his. He is lucky to have had parents who have loved and supported and fought to get him the best possibly care but it certainly hasn’t been easy and, according to the National Autistic Society, there are around 700,000 William’s out there, all at different points on the autistic spectrum, all with their own daily challenges and all with families or carers who need advice and support, often turning to NAS to provide this through their helpline.
When we decided to do our Round Britain sailing challenge we wanted to do this for a charity. There many charities we could have chosen but having this personal connect with and understanding of autism, we decided that we wanted to support the work of the National Autistic Society, to raise awareness of the challenges that children and young adults, like William, face on a daily and indeed forever basis – autism is not curable. We also wanted to support all the families and carers who turn to the NAS helpline for advice and support and just to help them cope with the tremendous stress that caring for a person with autism brings. More on autism and the National Autistic Society can be found at: http://www.autism.org.uk.
So, we dedicate this trip to all of those caring for someone with autism and we hope that you will help us raise our target of £2017 by visiting our JustGiving page, putting Simon and Helen Ward in the search bar and you will find us. We thank you for your support .. even if it’s a small amount, every little counts, we really appreciate it and it all goes towards our target and to support a worthwhile cause.