Published: 21 August 2008 at 13:25
Student with Asperger syndrome helps ‘train’ others with autism to deal with daily life challenges
Robyn Steward, who is studying Creative Online Design at Anglia Ruskin University’s Cambridge campus, and former student and regular trainer at the regional centre for students with autistic spectrum disorders at City College Norwich, has represented the views of autistic people on national television and won an award that will see her travel to the USA to learn more about autism. She is a specialist trainer, teaching PGCE and Cert Ed students at universities, as well as university, college and schools teaching and support staff. Robyn is firmly committed to providing training from a person not just a textbook.
Robyn, who herself has Asperger syndrome, a form of autism, was interviewed by both Huw Edwards on the BBC News Channel and by Jon Snow on Channel 4 News, and describes the unusual world of the live television interview:
More importantly for Robyn, she had been able to make some serious points about the experiences of people with autism on a national forum to millions of people in television audiences.
Robyn, who divides her time between London, Cambridge and her home at Cratfield, in Suffolk, has been supported in her studies at Anglia Ruskin by the Learning Support and Disability Resources team on the Cambridge campus. She says this experience has been much more positive and completely the opposite of school:
During the summer, Robyn was interviewed by the Guardian, again helping The National Autistic Society to increase understanding of autism and Asperger syndrome. Robyn also works as a trainer, raising awareness about Asperger syndrome 'from a person not just a textbook', as she says, and will soon be delivering training to members of the Learning Support and Disability Resources team who wish to widen their experience and improve the quality of their response to people with autism and Asperger syndrome.
More recently, Robyn applied for and successfully gained a Charlie Bayne Travel Trust award to go to America, where she'll be visiting California between 19 September and 6 October. At University of California, Los Angeles, she hopes to find out more about the University’s autism social skills programme and research. As part of the visit, she will be delivering a talk at UCLA to staff and families connected with the medical centre and local charities concerned with autism. Robyn will then fly to San Francisco to talk about autism on a TV show, followed by visiting a local high school and she will speak to members of a local charity.
You can watch Robyn's interview with Jon Snow at http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/society/health/breakthrough+in+autism+research+/2201352
The National Autistic Society's website has a wealth of information about autism http://www.nas.org.uk, and Robyn also has her own website, http://www.robynsteward.com/, where she shares her views on many things, including her experience of Asperger syndrome.