Tag Archives: Challenges

Can I get a light please?

Time goes by so fast. I know we all grow up hearing that but when the reality of it slaps you in the face it really hurts. Lately I’ve been looking back at my past. So many regrets. Many things I’d hoped to do and they never came to fruition.  Many dreams never fulfilled. And my non-stop analytic mind tries desperately to explain all the whys. Why didn’t I…. or I should have… My mind drives me to the point of insanity at times. Anxiety and depression fill my days with thoughts of not accomplishing the plans of my youth.

So this being my last go around. I’m making it my goal, even at my age to go back to school and get a degree. Photography has been my release, my passion, and the only escape from reality. So the “plan” , I use quotation marks because so far it’s just a plan and my plans always seem to fail, is to get into school and work my damnedest to get somewhere with it. I say my last go around due to all the failed attempts of the past. In my eyes its this or nothing, now or never. A lot of roadblocks have cropped up in my attempt so far and maybe school will resolve that. It may be a long road but it’s the only road that has any light shining on it. And I’ve traveled down too many dark roads. Time for a little light for the trip.


Acceptance

Sometimes I really have to step back and look at the world around me. As a gay Christian it confounds me how gays are so rejected by my fellow Christians. The fundamental mindset seems to advance it’s position day to day. Bashing people with the Bible and judging them even though the Bible clearly states that it’s God who judges not us. The Westboroites of the world seem to be growing. Recently my old denomination, Southern Baptist, basically declared war on gays. I myself was thrown out on my butt by the same people I had worshiped God with only because I finally had the guts to admit I was still gay after all those years. Compassion seems to be just a word tossed around by the self-righteous to make them look good and feel better about themselves.

On a positive note though people with Autism seem to be making headway in society. I see so many getting involved with movements to make Autism accepted rather than the old “let’s treat ’em with shock treatments” attitude. I am especially proud of a young man with Autism I know on Facebook who is trying very hard to get the word out that acceptance is what Autism wants. Not treatment. I wish him the best in his quest.

The reason for my interest? These are the people in my circle of life. These are the people that I know who are vulnerable to the attacks of bullies and other idiots in general. Gay kids are committing suicide at alarming rates. Children with Autism and other disabilities suffer the same treatment from the idiots of this world. Fortunately they aren’t killing themselves like gay kids but they still are suffering. Just something I hope you will think about!

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James’ Story ~ a mom’s perspective

James Hobley Biography ~

 as told by his mother Sheila Hobley

James was born two months prematurely. He is a twin and both he and his twin (George) spent the first month of their life in a special care unit inhospital. As they got older it became apparent that something was wrong. They were both missing developmental goals and cried a lot. No one got much sleep in the house when they were younger. I knew from early on that James had autism. It was easy for me to spot as my eldest son Alex was diagnosed with autism at 5 years old. Before Alex was born, I hadn’t heard of autism.

James would refuse to give eye contact. He looked at me from the corner of his eye so I was always in his peripheral vision. James didn’t play with his toys or books…instead; he broke them and ripped up his books. He tore pages out of them and seemed to be locked in his own world. He didn’t make much noise at all until he suddenly started to speak at around 3 years old. He was a child of very few words. He could speak but preferred to remain silent. He was always in Georges shadowand George did the talking for both of them. They understood each other on a deeper level and had little need for words. James was late walkingand when he did start, he walked on tiptoes with his hands flapping when he got excited. Eventuallyhe couldn’t put his heels on the floor as his tendons up the backs of both legs had tightened so much.  He had to wear orthopaedic boots and splints on both legs day and night. He hated it!

Both twins were officially diagnosed with autism at 5 years old and sent to a special needs school.  James wouldn’t mix with the other children and remained detached from people. He preferred the company of animals to people.  James was nearly 8 years old and couldn’t read or write and showed no signs of progressing in that direction at all.

Looking back it is always difficult to think of that one defining moment that changed his life forever and set him on a very different course in life…but it really all did start with a leaflet coming through our door advertising dance classes for fun. It was a local venue and said no experience needed! I took both James and his twin George along. George didn’t like it but James loved it. It was a chance for him to take off his splints and dance barefoot. He must have felt an immense sense of freedom in the movement. He continued going twice a weekand after a few weeks the teacher asked if he wanted to officially join the dance school. He went to his first dance competition a few weeks later and won a trophy!

Within 6 months of starting dancing, James no longer needed the splints and boots as his tendons had stretched naturally and he was reading and writing!

James loved his disco dancing and made a documentary with BBC about his life and his autism. Duringfilming he was taken to see a balletand that was it!!! He decided right there and then he wanted to be a famous ballet dancer one day. He was 10 years old and wanted to go to full time ballet school.  I had always thought that ballet schools were for the rich and privileged. We were a low income family and had no financial means to pay for a place at a ballet school.

We were lucky enough to find a teacher locally who said James showed some good potential and had the right body type for ballet so he started taking lessons and took his RAD exams there. He managed to get distinctions in all his exams in just over a year whilst he was there. He was taking a dance exam every few months. She suggested that we apply to some of the bigger UK schools which we didand James was offered a full scholarship to The Hammond Ballet School.

During this time, James decided to apply for a Talent show on TV called Britains got Talent. To our enormous surprise he got through to the live shows. We were astonished as there are over 50,000 people apply each year. James made it through to the finals of the show and went on tour with the finalists. He had made it to the last 8 acts in the competition.  He became an overnight celebrity and couldn’t go outside without being asked for a photo or an autograph.

The show had a positive influence on his life and gave him a platform to raise autism awareness and perform for autism charities. It gave him some wonderful performance opportunities. He has danced in all the major stadiums in the UK, been honoured in Times Square New York, opened the World Autism Conference in San Sebastian and chosen to carry the Olympic flame because of his inspirational work.

There has been a personal cost to the family. We haven’t been able to spend as much time together as a family because James is away from home a lotand we haven’t had a holiday for over 3 years.  Any spare money was always spent on James’s dancing.

George has now found a hobby which he hopes to take further. He is attending Taekwondo classesand within a few months of taking classes, he won the under 14 Scottish Taekwondo title. He is now ready to compete in Wales next month hoping to add a Welsh title to his achievements.

Both boys have a determination and drive that is remarkable and shows that with the right encouragement and support someone with autism can achieve great things.

When James was on Britain’s got Talent, he told the judges, “Dancing is my life!”

Dancing is all James lives for. It is the focus of every day for him. His dream is to be a world famous ballet dancer.

My advice to everyone out there …”DREAM BIG!”

Please help out. James is trying to get to Canada this fall. He has been nominated for an award through the Performing Arts Youth category at the International Naturally Autistic People Awards, based in Vancouver, Canada. He will also perform there. The link to donate is: http://www.gofundme.com/3nqi7o

 

James & his mum!

James & his mum!

 


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