My Inspirational Ollie
My incredible and inspirational son, Ollie, the boy who I was told ” would never achieve ” due to his autism , has just completed the first year of his creative writing and publishing degree at his first choice university. He achieved a First , the very top grade, for this first year of assignments.
Yet Ollie had his writing, his gift, removed from him at the age of 13 when teachers refused to allow him to sit the higher English GCSE paper in spite of me securing funding and regardless of the fact that Ollie had been in gifted and talented sets for English throughout middle school.
That decision nearly broke him and led to all sorts of terrifying mental health issues including suicidal thoughts and at least two attempts. We persevered and I sent his work off every author I could find asking for their help. I have two huge box files of personal replies all telling my son he was a writer already and to never let school or others define him.
He proved everyone wrong ( gaining 11 A to C GCSE’s and 3 A* -C A levels ) and is blooming . He has learned not only to grow his tremendous gifts but to use those gifts to help others, raising money for charity by reading his poetry at gigs, bravely accompanying me on some public speaking events where I raise awareness about just how amazing and ABLE these kids with different or special abilities are , he has spoken to national newspapers with me and even read his poetry out and been interviewed for BBC radio. Alongside all this , he has learned to organise himself, cope with the unexpected, learn to be flexible , live totally independently for the very first time, learn from his mistakes and pick himself up again, deal with homesickness , go shopping, wash, iron, budget, cook, travel, negotiate timetables and public transport and make new friends …. all steps to becoming the most inspirational and capable young man . He has already had several job offers for internships in publishing houses as well as writing for organisations worldwide. Just one year ago he had never even had a sleepover anywhere !I could actually burst into a billion pieces from sheer pride and I hope that ollie’s bravery, tenacity, strength and determination help touch so many for a long time to come.
I will never stop believing , not just in my own son, but in all those with different abilities out there. They need to be included in education , the workplace and society. We all have something to give. We all deserve a voice. We all deserve to grow and achieve our dreams and all their potential.
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