On the 4th July ASK had their official launch party at The Beacon in Tunbridge Wells. After drinks and canapés, Paul Shattock OBE, current President of the World Autism Organisation and father of a young man with Autism, took to the stage. Originating from Bidborough, but now residing in Sunderland, he gave a humorous talk with serious undertones about the status quo of ASD in the world. A few topics covered included: the increase in the prevalence of ASD, the fact that the causes are unknown, but factors that had been researched, and the important role of parents. Nick Knowles, mostly known for his TV presenting , drove 7 hours from Cumbria where he was shooting for an episode of DIY SOS so that he could support the event. Nick gave a brief but compelling talk about the work they have done for families with children with ASD on the DIY SOS show, his role in supporting Motorneurone disease, and how he believes that what Paul said about the contribution of environmental pollutants to many disabilities, rings true. Steve Dodds, virtuoso guitar player, entertained the guests with an unforgettable performance on both the electric and accoustic guitar. Steve managed to produce musical arrangements on his acoustic guitar that sounded like four instruments in one, his guitar being used like a tabla drum, hence the description of his unique style as ‘Guitabla’. Athene Burdge, mother of two children on the Autistic Spectrum, briefly described the services that ASK offers and thanked Paul, Nick and Steve for supporting ASK. Short and sweet it was a good evening, achieving the objective of increasing awareness of the need for ASK’s services and what services are on offer, while giving those attending an enjoyable evening out.
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