This year’s resolution is to write a blog a week on my brand-new web-site. I have a bad record with resolutions but I’m determined 2013 will be different. One click a week is all I’m asking…

There’s one resolution I’ve stuck to as a researcher. Start at the top. Don’t interview the office clerk.  Make an appointment with the National Director. That’s Jill Stacey, if the subject you’re researching is autism in South Africa. I couldn’t believe the warmth of my reception when I pitched up at her office in Greenside, completely lacking in credentials with regard to either journalism or autism. She was immediately interested in my very vague concept of a novel revolving around a child with autism. Despite her demanding schedule, she talked to me for well over an hour, giving me my first insights into an enigmatic disorder which is still not fully understood, despite the millions spent on research all over the world.  Jill has a son with autism so everything she told me carried extra weight.

And her help wasn’t confined to one interview.  I was introduced to parents, teachers and doctors. I was invited to an international conference to listen to specialists in the field. But most of all, I was able to work with individual children with autism – each one unique and special. I will always be grateful to Jill Stacey for the doors she opened – Autism SA is in excellent hands.

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    1. Well done, Barbs,
      I am covered with admiration at your technical prowess. Simon is still drooling over Venus and Orion in your thankyou note – and, you have to be an author of note to add spice to the tepid realms of the email thankyou! He seemed to be amazed that you could write so well but that is what I have been telling him for years. Best of luck with this amazing site.

    2. Barbara, I am very sorry to hear that you will not be writing another book. I have loved reading your books and enjoyed the humour, sincerety and depth of research, understanding and insight in all your books. may other enjoy them as much as we have :)

      • With encouragement like this, maybe I’ll change my mind! Thanks so much for the support – much appreciated.

    3. Amazed myself that i have found your blog………keep it up. My new years resolution is to get you to change your mind about writing another book. Maybe the charms of india will do the trick? love sue

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