Welcome to Week 49 of The 52 Week Love Project – Acts of Kindness. The project designed to recognize 52 inspiring humans who are giving back to our community – whether in a small way or by creating a movement for change and inspiration.
Meet Julie the creator of ‘William Ready’ education products and sensory space for children with Autism. Created when Julie discovered that her son had Autism – she was determined to do everything in her power to make sure William has the same opportunities as everyone else in life, and that the people around him to understand and accept him just as he is.
WHERE DID IT ALL BEGIN?
After my son William was diagnosed with Autism just before his second birthday, I knew I needed to learn all I could about Autism, but more importantly, I wanted to make it my mission to be the expert in my son. To know his loves, passions, strengths and desires, but to also know his triggers, why he wasn’t able to express himself like others. Learning the early warning signs of a meltdown and helping piece together some of the confusion that I went through in the early stages of his diagnosis process.
It was the end of 2016, when we went through our first real rejection in the school system. They had let us down and did not see the potential in our beautiful little boy, so It was at that point that I approached my amazing sister Liz, who has been a Primary School teacher for 15 years. I asked her if she would help prepare William for the transition to Primary School. To create and run a school readiness program to enable him to be prepared to start Primary School. There was no hesitation, and that is where William’s real strengths started to shine through.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
We were fortunate enough to have a space not being utilised at the bottom level of our house, so we created a school like setting.
We had 3 different areas being a wet area, a learning area (complete with smart board, white boards, desks & reading corner) and a sensory room. This is where Liz would work one on one with William every week for 2 years.
We created goals and then these were worked on and met. From as little as hanging his bag up and being able to pull out his chair to sit in it. Fine and gross motor activities, numeracy, literacy through to communication, sensory activities and social excursions.
This was a loving, supporting environment where William could be himself, a place where his strengths were celebrated, and his challenges were supported and guided. It was also a place where he wanted to continue to come to every week, because he had built such a wonderful relationship with his educator who he trusted and looked up to. He was learning and engaged every session and we were amazed to see how well he was progressing every week.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU?
My son William was my inspiration and always will be. I have two beautiful little boys (William who is on the Autism Spectrum and Ryder who is neurotypical) Both loved beyond measure and although their needs are different, my love for both of them is endless.
William inspires me to be a better person every day. To appreciate the small things in life and celebrate every milestone big or small.
I will do everything in my power to make sure William has the same opportunities as everyone else in life, and that the people around him understand and accept him just as he is.
I now wish those same opportunities for everyone else. To raise awareness, acceptance and understanding that its ok to be different and to always dream big.
HOW DO YOU GET PAST SELF DOUBT?
I used to struggle with this a lot. I still doubt myself on occasions, but I have my amazing husband (who is also full time in our business) telling me that I can achieve anything that I set my mind to. To give myself more credit by celebrating achievements every day (big and small) and to allow myself to be proud of what I have accomplished thus far. Over time, this has definitely helped.
After having my two beautiful sons, I have been able to let go of self-doubt. I don’t stress about the small, trivial stuff now, and I focus on what is important, what is positive and what is best for the people around me.
It’s crazy to think where life’s journey can take you, but I think now I am capable of so much more and I hope that I can inspire others to be that voice for their children. To know that they are not alone. That there are other people out there going through the same thing and they should always believe that they are good enough.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHERS WHO WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE/CHANGE IN THE WORLD?
I remember reading a quote a few years back that said
‘Nothing good comes easy’
I now know that in order to be successful and to make a difference in the world you have to work extremely hard. You have to be extremely passionate and you have to believe it will work.
Anyone can fulfil a dream and make a difference if you believe you can do it.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would have founded a business with my best friend/sister and husband helping my son, but then to go on to help many other children through educational products, sensory spaces & inclusion for all.
If you have a dream, go for it and don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t.
DO YOU HAVE A QUOTE OR EXPRESSION THAT YOU LIVE BY?
At William Ready, we truly believe that “small steps lead to great outcomes” and it is something that we live by every day. We just keep working hard, pushing forward and ensuring that we are always taking steps forward. We love seeing the steps that William takes every day towards achieving his ultimate potential.
WHAT ELSE DO YOU DO?
My life is William Ready!
Before having my 2 boys and the creation of William Ready, I was an accounts clerk for various law firms but after William’s Autism diagnosis – I finished up work and dedicated my life to early intervention and best practices for him.
I love what we have created, but when I’m not working on our business, I enjoy exercising – going out for a run to clear my mind always makes me feel better.
Being a mum is my greatest achievement and I feel very lucky to have two beautiful, healthy boys who will grow up knowing that they can achieve anything they set their minds to.
HOW CAN OTHERS HELP/GET INVOLVED?
If you know someone that has Autism, they can visit the William Ready website here: www.williamready.com.au
Connect on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/williamready.com.au/
Youtube: William Ready