Guy Shahar (MA Values and the Environment, 1999) talks about his book and charity project linked to autism
Guy Shahar graduated with a Masters in Values & Environment in 1999. Now, more than 15 years later, his life is taking on a new and exciting challenge. Since his 1-year old son was assessed as having a probable case of ‘severe’ autism in 2011, his family has been determined to improve his quality of life, despite being told that this was not possible. They did their research, found methods with real evidence behind them and even took Daniel to a specialist clinic for autistic toddlers in Israel for three weeks of cutting edge treatment. It was the best decision they made. With continued work at home, Daniel’s speech quickly started to return, the meltdowns receded, his various sensitivities subsided and he again became an open, happy and communicative boy. He is now 7, living a fulfilled life and thriving in a mainstream school; things that would have seemed unthinkable just 5 years ago.
In 2016, Guy detailed how his family brought about these radical changes in the book, Transforming Autism, which is available worldwide and aims to empower parents with autistic children to give them real hope and practical ways to help them live full lives and realise their potential. In the same year, he founded the charity, The Transforming Autism Project, with the aim of redefining perceptions globally of the nature of autism and of revolutionising how it is treated. It has grown rapidly, receiving official charity status by the Charity Commission just six months after its conception. Guy is particularly proud of the dedicated, highly talented team he has brought together, including another postgraduate from Lancaster, Ben Cook (BA Hons French Studies 2005; MA EU Institutions & Policy Making 2006) as External Affairs Advisor. As part of this project, Guy has delivered a TED talk entitled, ‘The Beautiful Reality of Autism’ and has interviewed a series of key opinion leaders in the field of autism.