Thursday, 21 February 2008

Why I haven't got the latest Parish Walk news

For the past three years at least, Clerical Medical have hosted a buffet lunch in their boardroom to which they invite representatives from the co-sponsors of the event - the companies that provide feeding stations etc as well as Manx Telecom. Also in attendance are the media, the organising committee and a couple of the top walkers. Last year I was invited for my website involvement and an enjoyable day it was too.

I was also invited to this year's event which was held yesterday but I had to decline. So there you are, I can't bring the latest news, or any photos or videos, How I wish I could.

I very rarely go out for lunch but it just happened to be one of those days when I had a prior engagement. In fact I decided to take a day off work for the first time this year to fulfill the other obligation. I hoped that by taking the day off I would end up with a bit of extra time for website and athletic interests but in fact it was one of the few days in recent months when I didn't update any of my athletic websites. To ensure that I was not shaking too much with withdrawal symptoms, I did update a non sporting site late last night.

Some of those reading will know that our elder son, Robbie who is 22, has endured considerable difficulties during the last 9 years or so brought about by an autistic spectrum disorder.

Having an autistic member of the family has a profound effect on families, particulary siblings. We have done our best to learn about the causes of autism and some years ago Marie (my wife) learnt about the work of Paul Shattock at the University of Sunderland, arguably one of the world's leading authorities on autism. She made contact with him and as a result Robbie has been on a dairy free diet which has made life a lot more endurable for him.

At Marie's initiation, yesterday she brought Paul Shattock to the Isle of Man. Organised by Autism in Mann, she obtained sponsorship from Barclays Wealth which enabled two meetings to be free for all who attended.

The most important meeting was at at the lecture theatre at Nobles Hospital yesterday lunchtime. It is not only lay people who lack detailed knowledge of autism but few people in the medical profession, who are stretched in so many ways, have an in depth knowledge. Whilst the medical profession only formed a part of the audience, it was extremely valuable to have the interface.

When that meeting was fully subscribed, Marie organised a second meeting at the Promenade Methodist Church which was open to anyone with an interest.

So, I spent a good part of the day yesterday attending both these sessions and taking photos and videos. I was also helping Marie with lifts for the speaker and acting as her assistant for a very worthwhile effort. The video will not be in the public domain but will be made available to anyone with an interest in Paul Shattock's talk. Some of the photos are on the http://www.autism2008.co.uk/ which was the only one of my websites to receive any love and attention yesterday. The evening session was also recorded by Manx Radio and an edited version of the presentation will be broadcast in the near future.

I make no apology for writing about autism on this Parish Walk blog because education and understanding are so important. Whilst undoubtedly some people in the past were not diagnosed when they should have been, it is hardly likely that 97% of autistic cases were missed. There has been a massive increase in the incidence and my hat is certainly in the Paul Shattock camp. The way we are treating the world, particularly with the use of chemicals, is putting many more people at risk of autism than previously. If you don't already know anyone with these problems, you will do in the next few years unless we change the way we produce food.

By taking the day off work I managed to get my training session, planned for the evening, out of the way in the daylight of the NSC at around 10 am.

But you should know that I could find a couple of Parish Walk links to the day.

I saw the smiling face of one of the greatest Parish Walkers of all time at the lunchtime seminar. Sue Biggart was there but I didn't manage to get to talk to her or I am sure I would have had some "skeet".

I also saw Dave Mackey out training at around 4 pm (he didn't see me as he sped past the old bus station) and when I got home I found he had asked me a couple of questions in the comment section of the blog. They have got me thinking for future blog posting and ensured that whenever my attention was flagging last night (hearing the talk for the second time) I didn't stop thinking of the Parish Walk.

1 comment:

The Go Mann said...

You've just reminded me to start training for the walk! Not long to go now!