Paula KehoeOwner, Copywriter - Red Rock Communications, Autism Advocate
Paula's Story :
My story starts in a small fishing town, located on the tip of Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula, called Red Head Cove.
I spent my free-range childhood playing among the grassy knolls, wandering through the rugged landscape, building tree forts, and chasing waves on the wharf.
I loved my childhood.
Outside play nurtured my imagination and I longed to know what was beyond the geographic boundaries of “The Cove”.
When I wasn’t roaming the roads with friends, I was geeking out reading encyclopedias (remember those?), watching W5 (what kid watches the news?!), and copious amounts of MuchMusic.
I remember thinking, when I grow up, I want to be a journalist . I had this insatiable curiosity to know about people and places. I was surrounded by incredible storytellers. My dad is well known for spinning a good yarn. By the end of one of his stories, one is usually left wondering if the story is real or totally fabricated. He’s that good.
I listened to my childhood self and pursued a career in journalism.
Since then my travels have taken me far and wide, and along the way I’ve met many remarkable individuals, who have shown me that we are more the same than we are different. I’ve told hundreds and hundreds of stories in a variety of mediums: as a morning show co-host at a radio station in St. Vincent and the Grenadine Islands, as a photojournalist for the Sun Media in Calgary, as a writer for kawarthaNOW in Peterborough, and as a writer for my own business, Red Rock Communications.
Regardless of the story, the magic really begins when I go beyond the surface and explore the things that connect us.
In Newfoundland, humour is a big part of the culture and people tend to have a progressive sense of the absurd and tomfoolery.
That side of my personality certainly shows for those who know me best. In the best and the worst of times, laughter is my secret weapon.
So, you won’t see me crying over spilled milk, but you may see me having a chuckle over it.
Since my eldest son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder two and a half years ago, I’ve learned to build resilience in the face of adversity.
I’ve also discovered what it means to be emotionally vulnerable and how finding the courage to let others see it can be empowering.
In our home, there is no disability, but rather a different ability. It’s about accepting what we cannot change and choosing to make the best of it for our entire family. While getting an autism diagnosis was life changing, it wasn’t for the worse.
Yes, we face more daily challenges than a typical family, but our family is adapting and learning to appreciate our son’s unique perspective.
To me, that is inspirational!