About Me

My work is much more about the many different experiences of autism individuals have the many different strategies which work for some and not all, the theories around autism, and the experiences I have had as a professional, than just about me. However, many people want to hear about my experiences. These will be featured in a forthcoming book. In the meantime, this short bio tells you a bit about me personally.

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Robyn started life small,  but made sure her life achievements were big. Robyn was born 3 months premature and spent her first 10 weeks in a critical condition in a hospital special care baby unit (where her christening took place).

Then she went home to Suffolk to grow up in the English countryside with her Mum and Dad. Robynʼs parents noticed quickly that she was on the spectrum. Her Mum started making sure Robyn did not retreat into her own world,using a mutual interest in music which was the key and still is to Robyn’s success.

Robyn learnt to talk late and even then she did not use it to communicate, but in echoalia and playing with sounds. But music accompanied Robyn, with her blooming vocabulary to school , through bullying and through hard times at school where people didn’t understand her and she didn’t understand them, leading to mishaps on both parts.

Later, as well as autism, Robyn was diagnosed with 10 Disabilities. Her parents did not receive autism specific support. Robynʼs diagnosis of Aspergerʼs came at the age of 11, but the school didn’t really know what to do. Robyn was rather adverse to learning social skills formally at first, as she did not understand that who she was would not change by learning skills.

High Schools’ prominent feature was being bullied, such as locking in toilets, names like  spastic, and teachers who couldn’t understand why she struggled with some things and not others.

What helped Robyn through was her parents’ time, dedication and love, a band called Pink Floyd, a few good teachers and a bunch of experiences. After being kicked out of school with no GCSEs, Robyn went to college and learnt about autism and started teaching others. Further education wasn’t easy; she still struggled in work and got bullied to begin with. Then she went to university she got good grades and  started mentoring others, she then left to travel round the world, inspiring educators, therapists, parents and people on the spectrum.  Robyn, lives independently in London ( 150 miles from her parents) , and has built up her business to high acclaim. Her activities include speaking about autism at the House of Commons and frequently in the national and international press,and on radio and television. in May 2013 BBC Radio 4 made a documentary about Robyn’s work and life and in the September of that year Robyn’s first book on safety for women on the spectrum was published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers., she also collaborated with Mark inlet ( producer/engineer Duran Duran, dandy warhorse et al) on 3 singles and 1 EP , and painted the covers for a limited press of the EP :” super safe living”Robyn also helps to change government policies and raise awareness for people on the Autistic spectrum, as a National Autistic Society (NAS) Ambassador
In 2015 Robyn joined the department of health’s autism programme board as a advocate for 2 years. At the NAS professional awards 2015 Robyn was awarded the award for ” outstanding achievement by a individual on the autism spectrum” along with Dr Julia Malkin MBE.

 

In 2016 Robyn wrote a EP which is being mixed by Andy Diagram , Robyn formed a band to perform her EP of 5 trumpets and 1 keyboard , the band is called Robyn Steward and the Hatonauts , Robyn is in a jazz Trio With Guitarist Rikki Jodelko and saxophonist and percussionist Ned Smith they are called Robyn and the bar stewards, Robyn is also Trumpet player for Paul Hawkins and the Awkward silences.

Robyn still has autism and is still affected by it on a daily basis. However, she has built up an international career, friendships and a life. Her disabilities have influenced her lifestyle. Robyn has a condition called prosapagnosia which means she does not recognise faces, but recognises people by their shoes! Because of Robyn’s physical disabilities, she needs to wear boots, and her visual impairment makes bright colors easier to see, hence bright shiny blue boots. Also, since she dosn’t recognise her own face in photos and can’t always see her shoes, she wears her purple sparkly hat. Robyn’s difficulty with co-ordination makes a paint brush hard to use, so instead, she paints with her fingers. Robyn tries to change every negative into a postive and encourages others to do the same.

I thought I would be homless and a drug addict by the time I was 21, but when I did get to 21, I had a ticket to the USA for my first tour. School wasn’t entirely to blame, but people’s attitudes had a lot to do with it.


 

8 Comments

  1. Hey Robin, Just read your article on The Experiences of Late-diagnosed Women with Autism Spectrum Conditions: An Investigation of the Female Autism Phenotype in Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities.

    Way to go, what a great contribution to the literature. I’m spreading the word about it.

    I will look for you again next year at IMFAR in San Diego. I enjoy running into at IMFAR every year and was thrilled to get the chance to have dinner with you this year in Baltimore.

    Kind regards,

    Susan Hedges

    • Hi Susan,

      dinner was lovely , I don’t think I’ll be at IMFAR this year in san francisco

  2. This is very inspiring. My 9 year old nephew has Asperger’s Syndrome. He lives in India and has been going to ABA but so far did not help much. What he does at ABA , his mother has been doing those things at home any way. It seems super expensive too. His parents are getting very stressed out too. Is there any online support group to help parents deal with the condition.

  3. I saw you on BBC Breakfast the other morning and was so impressed and inspired by your such positive attitude.
    I am in my 50s, and have only realised in the last couple of years, that I have autism. I do not consider it an illness or disability – indeed, I feel now, after so many years of not really understanding myself, it’s an attribute, and I can now understand my traits and way of thinking – indeed, the person I am. it makes me very happy, as I’m still the same person i have always been – It’s just now, I understand.
    I’ve read your story Robyn, and you are a credit to yourself and an inspiration.

  4. fab blog

  5. It all sounds so familiar – I’m sorry I’ve just emailed you too.

    The prosopagnosia one is particularly interesting – I don’t have it nearly as severely but I have often confused two completely different people, and I often forget the face of someone I’ve met, so they often think I’m being rude.

    K x

    • Me too! My auntie once walked in to a pharmacy where I was buying something. I knew I recognised her but could not identify who she actually was!

  6. Wow, this is a truly inspiring story!!! It’s amazing that someone who had such a hard time is now so inspirational to others, and had managed to stick out through it all! Also, very interesting to read about, as I also have Asperger’s Syndrome and prosopagnosia.

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