AFTER years of being bullied and tormented while she was growing up, Robyn Steward has pursued a career in teaching people about autism.
The “autism advocate” will be at the University of Notre Dame on Thursday to promote her book The Independent Woman’s Handbook for Super Safe Living on the Autistic Spectrum.
Working as a research associate in the University College of London she said when she went to college she went to a group for other autistic people and asked what would help staff training.
“I learned about theory of mind and understood my bullying was caused by me not having the right knowledge to respond in a way that would help me to be left alone,” she said.
“I started training teachers with other students and the tutor who organised it said ‘this could be the start of your career’, and 14 years later I’m still doing it.
“I wanted to work in IT originally but then began volunteering and was invited to appear on Channel 4 news.
“I then applied for a travel trust and was given money to go to the United States to see a research programme.”
The author said inspiration for the book came from knowing a vulnerable woman who had been terribly mistreated.
“I felt that she needed to make up her own mind on how she felt about the man who in my eyes was abusing her because otherwise she would have continued to be abused,” she said.
“There weren’t any resources for autistic women that not only told you what to do, but outlined why.
“I hope from my talk that people will learn to feel hope.
“Having worked with a lot of families and autistic people I have learned that it can be a hard journey and even the strongest person can benefit from a motivational boost.”