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News: World Autism Aware­ness Week: stu­dent who has autism launch­es children’s book inspired by his late mum

Please note: This news story may contain information that is no longer current or up to date.
Student Ben Robson
Student Ben Robson

A Nottingham College student who has autism launched his own children’s book about a group of brave cats, during World Autism Awareness Week (1 – 7 April).

Autism Aware­ness Week aims to draw atten­tion to the 700,000 peo­ple liv­ing with autism in the UK – both to edu­cate those unaware of the con­di­tion, and to help make the world friend­lier to those who are affect­ed by it.

Twen­ty-two-year-old Art and Design stu­dent Ben Rob­son read a chap­ter from his book, Kit­ty Realms, at a pub­lic launch on Sun­day 7 April at Espres­so Gallery in Mapperley.

Signed copies of the book were avail­able at the launch, plus an exhi­bi­tion of Ben’s art­work. He also unveiled a pre­view of some of his upcom­ing stories.

We asked Ben how he was feel­ing ahead of the launch.

I find patience very dif­fi­cult, and so wait­ing for oth­er peo­ple to fin­ish their parts of the project was the hard­est bit of it for me. I’m very excit­ed about the launch and I’m hap­py it is final­ly here. 

 — Ben Rob­son

Ben’s mum Janine sad­ly passed away in 2017, after being diag­nosed with motor neu­rone dis­ease ear­li­er that year. 

Since then Ben has been work­ing with the sup­port of his dad Ken Rob­son and step-dad Karsten Klups to write and illus­trate the book, which is inspired by his mum’s pet cats. 

Ben also drew inspi­ra­tion from a book his dad wrote about his res­cued Ger­man Shep­herd dogs. Ben illus­trat­ed that book before writ­ing Kit­ty Realms.

Ben’s dad Ken says that the new book is tes­ta­ment to Ben’s deter­mi­na­tion to get over any bar­ri­ers to suc­cess. For exam­ple, as a child he was fear­ful of ani­mals, which he over­came by get­ting to know his dad’s res­cue dog and his mum’s cats.

Ken explained that Ben signed near­ly 50 books at the launch, and sold out com­plete­ly of his sup­ply of print­ed books, after a 15 minute read­ing of Kit­ty Realms to a packed audience. 

It was a great day and Ben is very hap­py. I am so very proud of what he has achieved. His mum would be burst­ing with joy, their con­nec­tion was very spe­cial indeed. It has been amaz­ing to work with Ben on this book. 

Ken Rob­son — Ben’s dad

Ben lives with step­dad Karsten and their two pet cats in Mapperley.

Ben has always been cre­ative but it used to take him a lot of effort to ven­ture out of his com­fort zone. Since start­ing the Art and Design course at Not­ting­ham Col­lege he’s come on leaps and bounds. 

Sit­ting with oth­ers who share his pas­sion for cre­ativ­i­ty has real­ly helped with his con­fi­dence and to try new things. 

Also the gen­tle and wel­com­ing approach from his tutors has been great. Ben has a uni­ver­sal curios­i­ty, and now he drags me out to art galleries! 

Karsten Klups — Ben’s step­dad.

Pri­or to his Art and Design course, Ben com­plet­ed Sup­port­ed Learn­ing cours­es at the Col­lege. Tim Maroney, Sup­port­ed Learn­ing Lec­tur­er at Not­ting­ham Col­lege, said: I have known Ben since he first attend­ed the Col­lege. He is high­ly moti­vat­ed, very imag­i­na­tive and has become increas­ing­ly skil­ful using design software.”

Tim encour­aged Ben to pur­sue his art through the Lev­el 1 Art and Design course, which has helped to devel­op his cre­ative skills and his employ­a­bil­i­ty. Tim said: It has been a great plea­sure to see Ben flour­ish, lead­ing to the pub­li­ca­tion of his first book.” 

Kit­ty Realms is being sold online on the tred­i­tion pub­lish­ing web­site, and on Ama­zon as an e‑book to down­load or print­ed on demand.

Fliss Ward, Sup­port Tutor at Not­ting­ham Col­lege, works with stu­dents on the autism spec­trum, pro­vid­ing per­son­alised sup­port where need­ed to help them ful­fil their potential. 

Ben has a won­der­ful imag­i­na­tion. It is fas­ci­nat­ing to see how his char­ac­ters are drawn and the sto­ries are devel­oped. He is so com­mit­ted to his art, and he spends all his time in breaks work­ing on the next project. 

Fliss Ward — Sup­port Tutor
Published on:
  • 9th April 2019 (11:00 AM)
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