Multiple award-winning Vikie Shanks is an author and expert on Autism and communication as well as an inspiring, motivational and hilarious woman.
Through facing the cruellest challenges that life and mental illness can throw at us, Vikie Shanks has become a beacon of awareness for autism, depression, anorexia, dyslexia and cerebral palsy. She continues to fight for her children with Autism and helps people to understand why communication is so important in life and in business. She has shown that the most trying of circumstances can be used as a positive force, specifically in promoting awareness of autism and mental health issues.
Now aged between 17 and 27, her six daughters and one son have an impressive list of diagnoses: six have autism, two have cerebral palsy, one has severe dyslexia, one is recovering from anorexia and all, including Vikie, have or continue to experience depression. 11 years ago the family faced the suicide of dad and husband Paul, who had suffered with undiagnosed mental illness for years. When Paul died by suicide, it left her and her vulnerable family in a huge amount of debt and in the worst position imaginable. But she fought on - with unfathomable strength and a great deal of love and laughter the family held strong together. She used every ounce of gut and determination within her to make the lives of her children the best they could be.
Vikie spoke about her life and her experiences of having children with autism at a recent TEDx Talk and has published the book Unravelled: The Inspirational True Story of a Journey Out of Darkness. Vikie has made numerous TV and radio appearances, and has won many awards including Carer of the Year for her Autism One on One support group. She is a font of knowledge, an entertaining speaker and, in her unfailingly positive approach to life, quite simply, an inspiration.
In October 2017, Netflix aired the exclusive documentary, Kingdom of Us, about Vikie and her childrens lives which won the Grierson Award for Best Documentary and was BIFA and BAFTA nominated. The film has led to increased awareness about mental health conditions and has given hope to countless people.