Joy Thomas

When Phillip was born in 1963 it was denied by doctors that there was a problem. I felt, rather than knew, something was not quite right. Although I was reprimanded for voicing my concerns and put firmly in my place, these feelings never quite went away. He was eventually diagnosed with a learning disability Much later, in his 30's, we were told he also had Asperger's syndrome Many of the poems in this book were written as part of the story of our journey over the subsequent fifty years.

My first book, "slipped through the net" was inspired mainly by the experiences we had lived through as a family having a son (and brother) with a learning disability and Asperger's syndrome. In this second book, I have a section where I still cover matters of concern in this regard, but have tried to widen the scope and subjects to envelope a greater variety. As the cover suggests, life is always full of the unexpected and off beat. I hope what I have written will give the reader much pleasure and at the same time, some food for thought.

Take five is my third book exploring feelings, observing behaviour, and hopefully adding a little humour here and there through poetry and short stories. It is my effort to encourage you to stop, if only for five minutes, and escape from the hum drum, constant movement and pressure of everyday life. We have only one chance, life is not repeated. Make each day matter, be kind to yourself and to each other.

Jo & Joy met when they were invited to be part of a panel at the Hawkesbury Upton Literary festival in 2006. The panel was discussing writing about 'difference'. It wasn't until they made contact after the Festival, through social media, they realised just how much they had in common, and arranged to meet for a chat. One thing they discovered was they both had used verse to help them cope with the situations they found themselves in. Assessments, disability, red tape, anger and frustration. The similarity soon became obvious through their writing. This is where the idea behind silent voices was born. A way of helping those who perhaps too often remain salient, but who want and need to be heard.