Jim is hon­oured in U.S. for his work in autism

Cam­bus­lang man re­ceives Award for Ex­cel­lence

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Dou­glas Dickie

A Cam­bus­lang man has been recog­nised by a pres­ti­gious US or­gan­i­sa­tion for his nearly 40 years work for those liv­ing with autism.

Jim Tay­lor (61) has worked in the field for 37 years.

And his achieve­ments earned him the award for Ex­cel­lence in Ed­u­ca­tion at the Ohio Cen­tre for Autism and Low In­ci­dence’s (OCALI) an­nual con­fer­ence, at­tended by around 1800 del­e­gates.

Jim be­came the first per­son from out­with the USA to be pre­sented with an OCALI award at the event, held in the Greater Colum­bus Con­ven­tion Cen­tre ear­lier this year.

A for­mer pupil at Cam­bus­lang Pri­mary and Ruther­glen Acad­emy, Jim said: “I first went to OCALI to speak in 2007 and have been go­ing since.

“I was in­vited back the next year but have been fund­ing my­self since. I think it’s great to see a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive on things. “I was really sur­prised to learn I was get­ting the award.

“Hav­ing my work recog­nised by such a pres­ti­gious over­seas or­gan­i­sa­tion shows that here in Scot­land, we’re definitely get­ting some­thing right – and I’m ex­tremely proud of that fact.”

Jim, who now lives in Stir­ling, ini­tially trained as a pri­mary teacher and earned a post at a school for autis­tic chil­dren in Al­loa.

He has since gone on to be­come one of the lead­ing ex­perts on autism, and works all over the UK with a va­ri­ety of ser­vices.

His in­no­va­tive ap­proach to autism is, in his own words, “all about the autism”. By ad­dress­ing the im­pact of autism and plac­ing an em­pha­sis on de­vel­op­ing an in­di­vid­ual’s strengths and po­ten­tial, he helps them over­come bar­ri­ers pre­sented by their con­di­tion.

This shun­ning of a “one size fits all” ap­proach leads to an im­prove­ment in ser­vice pro­vi­sion and life ex­pe­ri­ences for those in­volved.

He said: “Things are definitely get­ting bet­ter in terms of un­der­stand­ing of autism. “Knowl­edge is so much bet­ter and peo­ple don’t ac­cept me­diocre ser­vices. “The big dif­fi­culty is get­ting fund­ing as well as chang­ing peo­ple’s un­der­stand­ing and at­ti­tudes. But there is a lot of good prac­tice go­ing on.

“I’ve done maybe three or four schools in La­nark­shire and the thing I will say is the staff are bril­liant. They have a real thirst for knowl­edge and to make things bet­ter.

“There are still par­ents and teach­ers who are strug­gling be­cause the prob­lems are very com­plex, but in gen­eral peo­ple are work­ing hard and things are much bet­ter than in the 70’s or 80’s.”

Jim’s trip this year was par­tially funded by the Celtic FC Foun­da­tion, who want to use his ex­per­tise to tackle autism.

Go­ing for­ward, Jim said: “We know what we can do and what makes a dif­fer­ence so we need to make sure we have the re­sources and fo­cus them on what helps peo­ple and their fam­i­lies. “Quite of­ten that fo­cus can change. Fund­ing re­mains an is­sue and there is still much we can do to­wards bring­ing peo­ple up to scratch with the best way for­ward.”

Shawn Henry, OCALI’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, said, “It was both a plea­sure and an hon­our to give this award to Jim. He is a true in­spi­ra­tion and trav­els the world over to make sure that he is do­ing the best for those with autism.

“Jim has al­ways talked about ev­ery­thing com­ing from the strengths of peo­ple with autism and that we should look at the strengths of all in­di­vid­u­als. We are truly blessed that, be­cause of Jim’s strengths, and be­cause of what he does, he makes the world a truly bet­ter place.

“I’d like to per­son­ally thank him for his true com­mit­ment and ex­cel­lence.”

For more in­for­ma­tion on Jim Tay­lor’s work, visit www.jim­tay­lor­knowsautism. com

Hav­ing my work recog­nised by such a pres­ti­gious over­seas or­gan­i­sa­tion shows that here in Scot­land, we’re definitely get­ting some­thing right

Award Jim Tay­lor (cen­tre) from Cam­bus­lang re­ceived an award for his work in autis­tic ser­vices at the 2015 Ohio Cen­tre for Autism and Low In­ci­dence con­ven­tion

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