‘It’s ok to be me’ South Shields man unveils ‘super car’ to spread positive message of autism

Richie Bow-Grace, who is the founder of Awesometistic CIC, launched the car to create positive conversation around autism.

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Awesometistic, a community interest company founded by Richie Bow-Grace from South Shields, hopes to inspire those with autism to be proud of who they are, with the unveiling of a ‘super car’ to spread the message.

Richie was diagnosed with autism at the age of 34, after struggling through life not knowing who he was. Richie explained: “I felt like a weirdo all my life.” However, once Richie was diagnosed, he had a better understanding of himself. He said: “The day I was diagnosed I thought, I’m never going to let any kid feel the way I did growing up.”

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The idea for the award-winning Awesometistic was born, which spreads the message of “Autism Can Be Awesome”.

Within his work at Awesometistic, Richie helps families, businesses, schools and the general public to learn about the autism spectrum disorder, and what can be done to help younger people have a better understanding of it.

Although the main focus of the community interest company is to teach and learn about autism, Richie is proud to say that it also focuses on acceptance, with the tagline “It’s ok to be me”.

Now, Richie has unveiled a ‘super car’ which helps to spread both the message of “Autism Can Be Awesome” and “It’s ok to be me”. The car, which was designed by Richie himself, was vinyl wrapped in pink and blue by Team Valley Printers and was sponsored by KeepMoat Homes’ The Rise Development.

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Richie said: “They were awesome, hats off to them. The community has really come together to help.”

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Richie explained that the car has had many “head-turns”, and that the messages displayed on the car have caught the attention of people. “The idea of the car is that its an engagement piece, to help people to talk about autism in a positive light,” Richie explained.

Richie became emotional as he explained how important the phrase “It’s ok to be me” is to him. Richie, who had a traumatic childhood, and also has various hidden disabilities, relies on various aids to help him through life, which includes a teddy named “Gracie”, however he feels it is important to to not shy away from his aids, in order to show children a confident person with autism.

Richie Bow-Grace has unveiled a ‘super car’, designed to spread positive messages around autism.Richie Bow-Grace has unveiled a ‘super car’, designed to spread positive messages around autism.
Richie Bow-Grace has unveiled a ‘super car’, designed to spread positive messages around autism.
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“Everyone with autism is different, but it’s really important for kids to voice their needs,” Richie explained.

Richie is helped by his partner and carer, Suzanne Mccue, who also helps with Richie’s work within Awesometistic. Richie said: “She keeps me on track. She even does my make-up!”

Richie also released his own book to promote autism awareness in 2020, named The Art of Weeing in the Sink.

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