Jim is honoured in U.S. for his work in autism
Cambuslang man receives Award for Excellence
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