Brave autistic Wearside school girl to speak publicly at Stadium of Light event

An autistic schoolgirl is to speak publicly about her life and experiences.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 14 June, 2019, 05:00
Sophie Everett: the 13 year-old will address an autism conference at the Stadium of Light.

Sophie Everett, 13, will address a conference aimed at the parents of autistic children called The Cost of Fitting In: Accepting Autism, at the Stadium of Light on Friday, June 21.

The pupil at St Robert of Newminster, Washington, was diagnosed with the condition aged six.

She is the youngest of several speakers at the event which focuses on the challenges faced by young autistic people and how to support them through to adulthood.

Sophie has been given huge help from her mother Sara over the years and hopes their experiences and tips for parents will help other autistic youngsters.

The free conference is the first in the region to be totally organised and led by autistic people. It has been arranged by Sunderland based Autism In Mind (AIM).

Sophie said: “I hope I can explain some things to parents from an autistic child’s point of view. It’s easy to get things wrong and I can tell them ways my mum has helped me. I can also talk about things that are annoying – like people talking down to me!”

AIM founder Carole Rutherford, said: “The speakers are all autistic people ranging in age from 13 to 40.

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“They have a wealth of personal and professional experience to share and will speak on a range of topics to provide a personal insight and understanding of autism.

“They will also talk about the importance of promoting self-acceptance and self-awareness and the natural strengths of autism.

“After the morning sessions, there will be an Autism Question Time where parents will get an opportunity to ask questions.”

Research by Sunderland University in 2017 showed that the number of children in the city diagnosed with autism had increased by more than 350% in the previous 12 years.

The number of cases had risen to almost 1,500 compared with only 342 in 2005.

There are 200 spaces available at the conference, which begins at 10am. Parents will also receive lunch and refreshments. To book, call 567 2514, or email AIM at info@autisminmind.com