See the Bigger Picture

April 2003 EICC,Edinburgh -a conference on living with learning difficulties arranged by Mindroom.

The meeting took a comprehensive look at learning difficulties, but also at other important dimensions of the person as a whole, such as emotional intelligence, empathy, humour, nutrition, medication, practical solutions and more. It was a conference for parents, teachers and professionals alike.

With over 800 delegates, 17 world experts gave their time for free and the outcome of this unique event has proven rather phenomenal.

Wonderful Summary by Richard Lathe Published in The Autism File 2003

 Conference Report by Elisabeth Weedon Published in ACNR 2003

One of the most moving moments at See the Bigger Picture was James Dow's short talk about what it was like being Annie's brother.

James was 15 years old at the time.

His talk served as an introduction to a workshop run by Loretta Giorcelli called "Living with learning difficulties in the family".

He is, as you can perhaps tell, mildly dyslexic.

Hi im James Dow

Im sophies Son also brother of Annie the main insparation of charity. I hear to introduce lorreta goegelie and also give you a brief starter to what its like to live with a child with learning difficulties. I found it quite hard to talk about living with a child with learning difficulties as to me it is normal. But when I go to friends houses I notice differences. Such as maturity, being able to hold conversations and not fusing over things. This may sound like a good thing but I feel this is all to boring. I find that being different isn't bad thing I think it's a good thing as it is more exciting as you never know what your going to get. One second you may get harsh insults yet then next second you get love and praise and this all gives a lively house hold which may stress the parents but I think this is fun. I had always thought annie was different but not in such a way as having learning difficulties. As life went on I learnt more and more about Annie and learning difficulties from my mum mainly. This helped me underdstand annie more. But still I manage to forget this during an argument. Expecialy when I get told off and receive a long lecture and annie is sympathised and is lightly advised not to do it again sometimes arguing back but then I think what it must be like to be annie I shut right up. Latley I have been felling pressure from my parents as I have exams. Sometimes it gets to me how im always doing work while any is always able to go out side and play. I have put this into an anlagie.She is gliding along in a rolls Royce while im in a plastic pedal car pedaling my legs off and getting nowhere fast while she glides by in her car. But that's when I think that im being pushed as I have been given a good chance. This is when I start to think what is going to happen to her. I always tell my parents that I will take care of her no matter what. Even though I don't like to admit it. She may get a job or earn a living she is always going to need taking care of. This may sound negative but there are plenty of upsides such as any is a very happy upbeat and social person which shows as whenever any walks into school or any where we going there is always some one shouting annies name telling her to come over. Even if there isn't anyone she knows she still finds a way of making friends whether it may be adult or child. But I also worry quite a lot as annie is a very trusting person and I think she could some day trust the wrong person.

Even though we have fights and I say I hate her sometimes I will always feel that I love her and that I couldn't ask for a better sister im glad that she is different as I think this is really cool. When my mum first told me that she wanted me to talk about living with some one who has learning difficulties I looked at it as if it was a chore but now I see it as a great experience also it makes me feel great as I im helping people to understand people with learning difficulties.

Thank you