This website (previously ASDinfoWales) belongs to and is run by the National Autism Team, which is funded by Welsh Government. It is one of the resources which helps the Team achieve their aim to improve the lives of autistic people in Wales.

Digital Stories

Welcome to our Digital Stories page. In this section, you will find a range of interviews from our Digital Stories series.

The series features interviews with people within the neurodivergent community, and asks what they would like parents/carers, professionals, and the general public to know about neurodivergence.

The National Neurodivergence Team is committed to working co-productively with the neurodivergent community and will continue to produce digital stories to celebrate the achievements of those within the community across Wales.

Select a video from the list on the right to watch a recording. To watch a recording in full screen, click the button in the video player.

For more information on each video in the series, please click on the names in the list below:

Gerraint is just one of many examples of somebody we have met and worked with and who provides an excellent role model for young autistic adults. Gerraint and his family’s experience provides a positive example of statutory and third sector services combining effectively to improve the wellbeing of a young autistic child and enabling him to reach his full potential when transitioning into adulthood.

Meet Gerraint!
Gerraint went from being non-verbal as a young child, to now presenting at national conferences across Wales and securing employment as the Lead Ambassador for the Engage to Change employment support programme, which is delivered in partnership between Learning Disability Wales, Agoriad Cyf, All Wales People First, Cardiff University, ELITE Supported Employment and in collaboration with DFN Project SEARCH. The project is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund in partnership with Welsh Government.

Why was the film created?
The film was created after Gerraint Jones Griffiths completed a work placement with the National Autism Team in Winter 2019. During his placement, Gerraint presented at a training day that the Team were facilitating, and the feedback received was that Gerraint’s story was so inspiring and informative it should be shared more widely.

Testaments
Gerraint Jones Griffiths, Lead Ambassador for Engage to Change said: “Once you have the diagnosis, you’ll be the same person before and after. I truly believe that being autistic is a gift and it’s something you should accept and be proud of. As far as I’m concerned, A is not for autism, A is for achievement!”

Samantha Williams, Engage to Change Communications Officer, Learning Disability Wales said: “Gerraint has been outstanding in his role as Lead Ambassador for the Engage to Change project. His presentations at events are always so engaging and entertaining – he’s a real showman! He works hard to spread the word that, with the right support, people with a learning disability, or autism can and do have paid jobs.”

Joe Powell, Chief Executive for All Wales People First said: “Gerraint is a real inspiration to people on the autism spectrum and a true ambassador for what can be achieved with the right understanding and support. We feel privileged to know him and I commend him and the National Autism Team for producing this wonderful film.”

We were lucky enough to catch up with Willow Holloway ‘virtually’ during the national lockdown to see how she was getting on, to hear more about the advocacy work that she has been leading over the past few years, and how this has continued, in spite of COVID-19. Willow has worked co-productively with the National Autism Team on many projects, most recently participating as a member on the All Wales Virtual Autism Team (established by the National Autism Team in March 2020), which aims to produce support and guidance for autistic people and their families during the COVID-19 lockdown and subsequent return to a “new normal”.

Meet Willow!
Willow is an inspirational autistic advocate and lived experience advisor. She is the Executive Chair and Strategic Lead for Autistic UK in North Wales, where she is now based, and has been Vice Chair for the Disability Wales Board since 2016. Willow received a late diagnosis of autism at the age of 44, and here she talks about the impact that receiving the diagnosis has had on her life.

We recently met with Hazel Lim in Swansea Grand Theatre to speak with her about how autism is viewed in the Chinese community, and what information and advice she had to share with professionals, and those who work with autistic people, about how this can affect practice.

Meet Hazel!
Hazel is the founder of the Chinese Autism Support Group, a platform created in partnership with the Chinese In Wales Association in Swansea, where Hazel is now based. She has an MSc in Autism and Related Conditions, and is also the mother of an autistic son. Here, she talks about how understanding her son’s condition set her on the path to help support other parents/carers in the Chinese community, and how professionals can adapt their practice to ensure services are accessible for autistic people and their families within the community.

Click here to find out more about the Chinese Autism Support Group.

Click here to find out more about The Chinese in Wales Association.

We recently met with Ewan Richards in the University of Wales, Trinity St David, where he spoke to us about his experience as an autistic person, how this has impacted his experiences in education and employment, and also shared some examples of effective communication.

Meet Ewan!
Ewan is autistic and recently gained a First Class Honours Degree in BSc Computing, and is currently studying for a Master’s degree in Computing Software Engineering, in the University of Wales, Trinity St David. Ewan received a diagnosis of autism at the age of 11, and here he talks about how his experiences in education and employment were impacted by this.