Chairperson | Liza Quin
Hi there, my name is Liza Quin, I am 44 years old and I am married to Mark. We have a daughter called Alannah who is now 13 years old. At the age of 5, Alannah was diagnosed with Autism and Global Developmental Delay.
I originally set up Autism Rocks (Fife) as a Facebook support group, due to the lack of any kind of support in Fife, for families and kids/adults with Autism.
There are no social activities or places that our kids or adults can go where they are not judged, stared at or bullied.
Nowhere can they be themselves, the person who they want to be.
I decided that having a support page would be a good place to start with, offering help, advice and support for other families who are just starting out on this amazing journey and also for the families who have been through, what most of us are going through, to give their experiences to help others.
The best and most effective support are other parents (in my opinion).
Since I started this venture, the membership numbers have grown rapidly.
Our goal is to open an Autism Support Centre in Fife, which would be the first of it's kind in the area - a place where there are no age restrictions or limits. Our centre will be open for all Autism families. A safe, secure, inclusive place to be who you want to be. To learn from and educate each other.
Vice Chair | Karen Murphy
My name is Karen Murphy and I am 40 years old. I'm married to Alex and together we have our son Reece who is 12 years old. Reece was diagnosed at age 5 with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and at age 10 with a learning disability.
Our journey has seen us come into contact with many resources and supports. Some good and some not so good! In general we have had some good support from health professionals and education but very poor support from social work despite our requests for help.
My interest in Autism is not only a personal one. I have been employed as a staff nurse for the Learning Disability Service at Lynebank Hospital for over 15 years and have cared for many individuals over the years who were on the Spectrum. I have witnessed both personally and professionally the difficulties and struggles Autism Families strive to cope with on a daily basis. Since joining Autism Rocks (Fife) I am shocked and dismayed at the lack of support offered to our group members. There appears to be no consistency with regard to accessing referrals, diagnosis and post-diagnosis support. Waiting times for these are also at tan unacceptable level. In too many cases support is reactive to crisis and not proactive to prevent crisis. Autism Rocks (Fife) hopes to challenge this and more so that Autism Families in Fife will have better experiences.
In January 2014 I returned to study at Napier University where I gained a qualification in Positive Behaviour Support. This is a values based approach to managing challenging behaviour of individuals. It uses the science of Applied Behaviour Analysis and looks closely at designing effective environments for these individuals and importance of teaching the right values, knowledge and skills to parents, carers and staff.
I believe our ultimate goal of an Autism Centre in Fife is a necessary one. It is vital that Autism families in Fife have this as a lifeline for support when other services cannot be offered.
Treasurer | Morag Duff
My name is Morag Duff and I am a mother of 3 sons and a grandmother of 4 grandsons, the youngest of whom has an autism diagnosis.
I took early retirement in 2012, after 33 years, from my post as a Clinical Support Worker with the Community Nursing Service. My goal then was to help look after my youngest grandson whilst his parents were at work. Things change, and as I do not have as much involvement in his life as I thought I would, my goals in life have changed also.
My challenge in life now is to try to make things better for all children and adults (and their families) with autism. I aim to work as hard as I can and hopefully make a difference, even a small one, to the lives of these families.
Trustee | Helen Anderson
Hi, I'm Helen, I'm a trustee for awareness for Autism Rocks (Fife) and I am mum to 3 kids, Kimi, 11, who has ASD, Jennifer, 10, who is an ASD sibling, and James, 9, who has ASD, Sensory Processing Disorder, Dyspraxia and possibly ADHD.
Before Autism Rocks (Fife), I felt very alone as there was nowhere to turn to for advice, support or someone to just understand what we go through on a daily basis.
I joined the team while it was in its infancy and have watched it flourish and seen what we have accomplished in such a short space of time, and look forward to helping in any way possible to reach the goals of the charity.
Trustee | James Ellinsworth
Hi my name is James Ellinsworth. Myself and my girlfriend Debbie have an adorable 3 year old girl called April. April was diagnosed as a baby as having cerebral palsy, and we were told that she would never crawl, never mind walk. At less than a year old medical professionals were looking at fitting her with a metal walking frame. On 3rd May 2014 April proved everyone wrong and took her 1st steps. Anyone that knows our girl will know she is the spriteliest child in the world now and never off her feet. She has subsequently been discharged from the development centre and the majority of other medical professionals. The only medical issue she now faces is Global Development Delay.
Debbie works with young adults with autism, supporting them to live independently in their own flats, within a secure complex. Through this and the close links between Autism and GDD it took me down a course of researching it further to see what we may possibly have in store with April.
I first met Liza (the chair of autism rocks) around 4 years ago before Autism Rocks was established. She spoke to me at great length about her daughter Alannah, and was telling me how there was no support whatsoever and how alone her and her partner Mark felt. 2 years later Debbie was at the local petrol station and saw someone wearing a hooded top with Autism Rocks (Fife) on it. She got speaking to them and got a business card. When she came home she told me to have a look at their Facebook page. I noticed Liza was the chair so I sent her a message asking if I could help in any way. She told me that they had an awareness day coming up and required someone tall to put the gazeebo up. This was the start of my journey with Autism Rocks.
Shortly after this I became a trustee and have seen the group flourish and go from strength to strength. Autism Rocks has become my passion, there is nothing better than seeing the families come together on our fun days, to see the children all enjoying themselves and the parents/Carers able to relax in a calm, non-judgmental environment.
Autism Rocks is not just a support network to me, it is a passion that I have literally walked over fire for. 2016 was a massive year for us with some great achievements, and the opening of Kaleidoscope. which you can read about on here; however 2017 can only make it better!
Trustee | Scott Swanson
Hi my name is Scott Swanson. I am 37 years old and became aware of Autism Rocks (Fife) in my first year at college in 2014.
While doing graphic design. We were set a project to re-brand a company / charity etc . I chose to do Autism Rocks. I completely re-branded their logo and took it further with a whole business package. After completion of the project I contacted Liza Quin with the outcome, and was asked to present it to the board of trustees of the charity to show what I had produced. It was met with great enthusiasm and was exactly what they were looking for. So I made the design official which then launched the new look Autism Rocks (Fife).
I have since carried on working with the charity as their in house graphic designer and recently became a trustee. As a volunteer , I am extremely proud to have helped the charity stand out in the way they do. .
Secretary | Sarah Ferrier
Hi my name is Sarah , I have autism and sensory processing disorder so I live with it every day. It is part of who I am and most of the time I wouldn't change it about me .
I love elephants and have an impressive knowledge about my favourite animals . I work in a breakfast and after school club and some of the children I support are also on the autistic spectrum and I think that by living it and having been through the same struggles helps me to support them.
I started coming to Autism Rocks (Fife) about 9 months ago and they have helped me to become more confident in who I am. I love coming to the teen and adult group on a Friday night and coming down during the week to chill with snowball in the sensory room.