My name is Freya O’ Horo and I’m 17 years old. I have 2 younger brothers and we live with our mum and dad in Foxford, Co. Mayo. We have 3 dogs and we love going for hikes in the woods around our house. I enjoy many hobbies including horse riding, swimming and writing. I’m going to tell you my story of how I got here with BookHub Publishing.
My youngest brother Dian, who is 9, has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). I’ve always been overprotective of Dian because I felt that the world has been very cruel to him. He could start his day as a very happy, energetic boy and end it being very upset and hurt. This would usually happen when we would go places like a shop or restaurant. People would constantly judge him whether he spoke loudly or started running and jumping; the stares and judgment affected him and it was always apparent.
I thought that if people were more educated about autism, then they would stop staring at the boy having a difficult time on the shop floor and realise “maybe he isn’t having a tantrum, maybe he’s having a meltdown.”
I decided to write 2 booklets aiming to help educate people about autism and how it affects people differently and the people around them. I felt it was important to show how much autism families do for their loved ones just so that they can feel relaxed and happy.
“All About Autism” and “All About Autism Children’s Activity Book” were created in 2015. The first booklet “All About Autism” was created specifically for teenagers and adults. I aimed to sell it to family members and staff members of national and secondary schools who wanted to further the education. “All About Autism Children’s Activity Book” was created for children. I wanted to make it very simple and easy for them to understand autism with the key message that people with autism are to be accepted for who they are. I aimed to sell to siblings and national school students.
So far, I’ve sold over 500 booklets, done a numerous of talks and events. All About Autism has won 8 awards:
– 2nd Place North Mayo County Final Student Enterprise Awards
– 3rd Place Mayo County Final Student Enterprise Awards
– 1st Place Accounts Category Get Up & Go Competition
– Winner of 2 Enterprise Awards 2016
– Winner of Entrepreneur of the Year 2016
– Winner of Bloggers Award 2017 (Micro Business Awards)
– Nominated for Giving Back Award 2017 (Micro Business Awards)
– 2nd Place at the Griffith College Enterprise Awards
I decided to create a blog to share advice and tips with other autism families. Services or products that benefited Dian I shared on my blog hoping it would help other children with autism just as much. I also did interviews with people who worked in services and autism advocates who shared their personal journeys. I decided to also share tutorials of items I made for Dian and day trips out that Dian thoroughly enjoyed.
I found myself searching for more things to do with All About Autism. I wanted to spread the message that autism is not a disability, its a different ability to a further audience. A lot of my work was local and I want to get it national. That’s when I thought of the idea to contact a publishing company and luckily, I found Book Hub Publishing.
I contacted BookHub Publishing hoping they could give me some advice on what to do next because I really found myself struggling with the next step for All About Autism. I wasn’t sure what would help me further my booklets. I sent them a copy of my booklets and within days they got back to me.
Book Hub Publishing were more than happy to take me on and help me with my booklets. They were impressed with what I had produced and wanted to help me make them even better. We’ve talked about great plans and ideas that I never thought would be possible. I saw a bright future for All About Autism. I’ve already so much lined up and I’m ready to start this exciting new journey with All About Autism.