Welcome to BreakfastTree.com

My name is Bernadette Louise. I am a SEND Professional, by academia and by experience.

I am a Parent of two children with Additional Needs and am also on the Autism Spectrum myself. I have muddled through life as a misdiagnosis, and now am in a place where I can help others through my work.

My two ‘jobs’ that I somehow manage to squeeze in alongside my children, is one as a Creative Practitioner, I have been a self-employed Artist and writer since 2006, and, two, I am  proud to represent other Parent Carers in my role as a Parent Carer Rep and consult on a variety of issues in my Local Area of Worcestershire and beyond (including working in coproduction with the LA, CCG, WCF, NHS).

I am the independent Chair of the Worcestershire Autism Partnership Board, I am a steering group member for Families in Partnership Parent Carer Forum, and am a co-opted board member of Healthwatch Worcestershire. I am also a Postgraduate Research Student at the university of Gloucestershire, studying parent blaming, fii and autism.

This website ‘BreakfastTree’ is named after a big part of our Autism Journey, and as such it is my SEND page.

For my other work, I hold other sites. I have a fiery tongue and write an honest, sometimes brutal account of parenting, partnering and being on the Autism Spectrum with Pathological Demand Avoidance. Because of this, my multidisciplinary artwork is of an extreme nature and not to everyone’s sensibilities, which is why I have my art bio on www.BernadetteLouise.com (which has been hajicked temporary and is NOT my artwork..crying about this!) and my creative ramblings on www.RabbitMom.Com

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EXPERT BY EXPERIENCE

Biography  

I have vast professional knowledge as well as personal lived experience of Autism Spectrum, Pathological Demand Avoidance, Fabricated and Induced Illness, Special Educational Needs and Mental Health. I share my stories, along with those of others so that with ‘Professionals’ and Senior Managers can have a real-life account of how services feel for those that use them. As a Parent Carer Rep, I represent all SEND parent carers in Worcestershire at high level meetings and work alongside the Local Authority, Health and Care Trust and other agencies       to give them a better understanding of the needs of a wider demographic. This in turn has a positive impact on the services that they design and the people they employ with the hope to shift the culture of understanding towards disability need, appropriate considerations made, and a deep coproduction of services required by families and individuals. 

CV available on request. 

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CREATIVE PRACTICE ART AND WRITING

Making sense of the world

As a non-diagnosed Autistic female, I have had a wobbly path through childhood, adolescence and my 20s. Always the oversensitive one, the touchy one without a sense of humour, the black and white thinker, short tempered, childlike tantrums, mainstream schooling, socially active, but volatile. I was diagnosed on and off with intense anxiety and depressive symptoms, eventually PMS and BPD. Now as a mother in my 30s I know what I really am, a strong Autistic female. I can recognise what helped, what didn’t and what went wrong, and how these misdiagnoses were unhelpful and damaging in adulthood. As a young woman, I continued to search for answers to my ‘craziness’. Historically I made abject artwork about the body, in an attempt to understand myself and asking all the time, why am I broken, what is wrong with me? I made visual art and writing about some of the answers I discovered. Body image, domestic control, violence, hormones and gynaecology all intrigued me as emotional responses but physically tangible ways to express my complex feelings. Some of my work is extreme, explicit and unashamedly expressive. I am a proud alternative artist and writer, and it isn’t for the faint of heart, but it is the work of a genuine autistic person’s journey to self. More recently I have been expanding my practice to include the stories of my children’s journey as well as my own, and even starting to include others experiences in my artwork. I realise I am becoming more ‘mainstream’ in my approach but highlighting the issues of Autistic families is important to me and my projects ‘Accused; an autism mother’ and ‘From the Horse’s mouth’ bring attention to the challenges in a different way. I have an impressive Arts CV having received Arts Council England and Lottery funding several times, and had exhibitions and performances at the Barbican, Goldsmiths, Act Art, Cultivate London, Hippodrome and fierce festival, Arts & Architecture week and Women in Theatre in Birmingham, as well having worked with the most influential performance and spoken word artists of my lifetime.

My artwork deals with difficult themes and does so in an honest, visceral and personal way. This is often very explicit and not to everyones taste. The live art aspect often uses my own body as a canvas and I am proud to share my stories this way, however, please be aware that it might not be suitable for everyone, particularly those under 18.

I will be pleased to discuss how my artwork across different platforms, mainstream and underground, can be beneficial to those on the autism spectrum, especially females who have different life experiences. I would be happy to be of assistance to you and/or someone you know.

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