Independent Education Management Professional
Founder of ‘The Earth Charter UK’
We all know the word 'Autism' and maybe even the word 'Asperger's' but it's likely that most of us have never met anyone with that disability.
Joely Colmer has written a book to help us understand. She knows all about it - not, like an expert from the outside, but with the knowledge that only an 'insider' can provide. And, Joely writes, not only for those of us who want to know more, but also for those who have the disability and needing practical guidance. Central to her writing - and her attractive drawings - is Joely's humour and humanity. As we read the book, we pick up more and more, through Joely's stories and honest personal examples.
So, who is Joely? True, she is quite an exceptional young woman. She was diagnosed with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder at the age of two, couldn't speak till she was seven (which was connected with her deafness) or tie her shoelaces until she was eighteen. But she now has three A levels and in 2013, at the age of 21, won the national YMCA 'Youth Volunteer' Award.
Joely and I met at the Explore Diversity Conference for young people from all over Dorset. The diversities including every sort of disability, as well as race and sexual differences. Her talk was inspiring. I was there, a rabbi, representing www.EarthCharter.org, speaking about the issues facing our world. Our thinking and experience connected us with one another - the need, for example, to eliminate discrimination in all its forms, such as that based on race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, religion, language, and national, ethnic or social origin and to honour and support the young people of our communities, enabling them to fulfil their essential role in creating sustainable societies.
‘My Fairy Jam Jar : Life A.S We See It’ is of importance to everyone, not only for the people with a disability but also parents, doctors, carers and the Government. The book is more like a person than a manual; human and loveable. Perhaps one day, the other sort of 'expert' might compile a 'guide' to Joely's material for teaching. Joely and I agree about so much and I very much look forward to working together. More than anything else, we agree that:
“Life is incredible, to be alive, disabled or not, is an amazing adventure- this is why all life deserves the right to be listened to, respected, understood and helped, to aid in making life’s adventure as supported and wonderful for everyone as one can”.
by jeffrey Newman