Changing lives… with author Jo Worgan

Today I am delighted to welcome author Jo Worgan to the blog. Jo has self-published Jo Worganfour non-fiction books on a subject that is close to her heart and self-published a novel. Here Jo talks about the significant changes she has experienced in her life, along with exciting news about her new novel.

Welcome to the blog, Jo. Please tell the readers a little bit about yourself. 

I am a married mum of two boys. I have been married for 19 years. I met my now husband while at school, we were both fifteen. Originally from the Wirral, we now live in Lancaster and have done so for the past 10 years. I have two sons, aged 10 and 9. My youngest son has Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  I am a former renal nurse, but now spend my days writing fiction, copywriting and reading (while not doing all the usual housework chores and looking after the boys). I have self-published four non-fiction books about parenting children with autism, have self-published a novel, and in the autumn of 2018 Urbane Publications will be publishing my contemporary novel Picking up the Pieces.

What’s the most significant change you’ve experienced to date?

The most significant change I’ve experienced to date was when my youngest son, Tom, was diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at the age of three.

What were your initial feelings as you processed what this change would mean for you and your family?

Tom’s diagnosis was a gradual thing. We knew from an early age, when Tom turned one, that something wasn’t ‘right ‘. His speech and language was delayed, he gave very little eye contact and exhibited challenging behaviour. There were many things that made me think that he could perhaps be on the autistic spectrum. It was when he started nursery, at the age of two, that we were approached by nursery staff and the diagnosis process began. We were very lucky as we knew the staff well, as my eldest son – Stephen – was already at the nursery. Therefore, when Tom was given his ASD diagnosis at age three, we were prepared for it. It has been a gradual acceptance, but it still knocked the stuffing out of me. Initially  I felt guilt, I blamed myself. I no longer do, I just feel that this was a natural reaction at the time. I felt scared for his future, I still do, but ultimately I felt relief, in that we had a diagnosis and that Tom would get the help that he needed. I did worry about us as a family unit. I knew that everything would change, nothing would be the same, but I also knew that we would adapt, that everything would be ok in the end.

How did you approach managing the change once you had accepted it?

As a family we sought help. We were incredibly lucky, in that we had been receiving help from our local children’s centre. We were allocated an outreach worker who specialised in children with additional needs. She worked with Tom at the nursery setting and at the local peer support group that we attended once a week, for children with additional needs and their families. Tom received Speech and Language Therapy, and was given additional help in nursery. I made contact with parents who had autistic children and gained help and support from them. As a family we had an incredibly supportive network.

What did you learn from the experience?

That life is never how you planned it, but that change is not all bad. When we learned that Tom was autistic we changed as a family. We had to adapt and accept this change. Life is different, that is all. Many people say they are so sorry when they learn that Tom is autistic and say things such as ‘what a shame’. But to say such things causes pain. Like any family we have our ups and downs. My life has completely changed, and I am on a different path, but as a result I have made many new lifelong friends, I am hopefully more tolerant, I started to write again.  I have two beautiful, happy boys.

How do you feel about change now?

I have accepted it. Life is as it is and it is good. Tom goes to a specialist ASD school and is well supported, I know that we are incredibly lucky to have this school. He has school transport, as the school is a 50 minute drive away. He got a statement of educational needs (now EHCP) and is in the right setting. Many children aren’t, as I said, we are incredibly lucky. I have a supportive network of friends, I am able to work from home, to write, I too am incredibly lucky. I have a supportive husband and a beautiful older son who is caring and supportive of his younger brother. We are a happy family. So, how do I feel about this change now? This is hard to put into words. I have accepted this change, our life has changed and we have all adapted to it. I now can’t imagine life to be any other way.

What would your top tip be for someone going through a similar experience?

Seek help and support. That is the most important thing that you can do as a parent. Surround yourself with a supportive parent network and accept all help that is given.

Finally, if you could change one thing what would it be?

This is a difficult question. What would I change? I don’t think I would change anything.  Many people say that autism is a gift, but I can’t see it this way. Not when my son is gripped with daily anxieties and the need for routine and sameness to make him feel safe. However, neither is it a curse, as many people state. It is simply a difference, a difference that we have embraced as a family.

Many thanks for taking part in the Changing Lives series, Jo, and for offering a different insight to autism.


Below is list of the books that Jo has published on autism to date:

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My Life With Tom. Living With Autism. The Blogs. Volume One and Volume Two by JM Worgan

This book is a collection of the first six months of my blog about Tom, my family, thoughts and feelings. Why did I decide to publish my blogs as a book? I suppose there are two reasons why I decided to do so. The first reason was because I received so many wonderful and supportive comments about how enjoyable they were to read and that they gave an insight into what life was like in living with a child on the autistic spectrum.

The second reason for wanting to publish my book is purely a personal one. I wanted a book that I could hold and which I could place on my bookshelf and show my boys when they are older. To tell them that this is what life was like but that we had fun and that I loved them very much.

Amazon reviewer: Helen Laverty

‘met’ Jo virtually on twitter in a #LDnurse chat session, decided to give this book a whirl and have now recommended it to everyone of my student nurses, and to academics across the 4 nations. There is so much in here to learn from laugh at and shed the odd tear. I shall never think of school nativities the same, or a trip to the dentist, and wish I could tell some choirs to shut up!

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Life on the Spectrum: The Preschool Years: Getting The Help and Support You Need by J.M. Worgan

This book will give help and advice to all parents of preschool children who are on the autistic spectrum. I am mother to two boys, my youngest who is four has Autistic Spectrum Disorder and the book tells of my experiences with him. The book deals with topics such as sensory issues, getting the help that you need from professionals,education, finding local support, going out with your child, toilet training and helping siblings. Most importantly you will find out that you are not alone.

Amazon reviewer: Petra

our son has just been diagnosed with mild ASD and I had no idea what to do, how to help him or where to get help, this book covers everything from sensory toys, to available help to help with toilet training. If I could I would go and hug this lady who has written the book, I found her advice absolute life saver! thank you!!!

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100 Voices From The Spectrum: The Realities of Being a Parent Carer to a Child on the Autistic Spectrum by J M Worgan

The information and views of the one hundred parent carers within this book were gained through social media sites. A ten question survey was compiled and posted to these sites and parents who care for a child with an ASD were invited to complete the survey in order for the results to be published in this book. By compiling the results of this survey, and undergoing research I have been able to write this book which will hopefully inform, share information and resources while also giving support to those parents who care for a child on the autistic spectrum and the people in society who support the caregivers. Hopefully the book will be beneficial to everyone who is involved with the child.


As well as looking after her family and writing books, Jo also runs a popular book blog at BrewandBooksReview.blogpost.co.uk

Find out more about Jo at: urbane publications.com

Follow Jo on Twitter: @mummyworgan


The most significant change I’ve experienced to date was when my youngest son, Tom, was diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at the age of three.

Seek help and support. That is the most important thing that you can do as a parent. Surround yourself with a supportive parent network and accept all help that is given.

Author Jo Worgan


If you enjoyed this changing lives interview and would like to take part, please contact me via the form on the blog.

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3 thoughts on “Changing lives… with author Jo Worgan

  1. Fascinating, thanks for this. I only have little experience of a child with special needs as a relative has two daughters with challenges and also a couple of friends have children. I have nothing but admiration for them and their children. Their kids are lovely and such a joy to know.

    Like

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