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Showing posts from May, 2019

Group Support Session 1 - Intro

When I was diagnosed Autistic in December they offered me some support sessions (either group or one-to-one) to help me get my head around my diagnosis. I never knew what I could/wanted to gain from these support sessions so I never took them up on their offer until recently when I had a phone call chasing up whether I'd be interested in sessions starting 29th May. I still didn't know what there was to gain from them, but a number of people have encouraged me to go to the sessions so I decided if I'm not there I can't gain anything and went for it. My first session was 2 days ago and it was interesting despite being mainly an introductory session so that we all get to know each other and have an understanding of what we'll be covering over the remaining 4 sessions. There were 3 of us there, plus 2 adjudicators. There's actually 6 of us in our group, but this week one of them couldn't make it, one was ill and the other was AWOL leaving just the 3 of us for …

My Dream Job (And Why I Can't Do It)

As a kid the career I always wanted was to be an RSPCA inspector. I've always loved animals, which I gather is something that a lot of autistics have in common. In fact, I've always preferred animals over people and I wanted to do anything I could to help look after and protect them. So I left school with a career as an RSPCA inspector firmly in mind and went straight into college for 4 years to end up with a Foundation Degree in Animal Management. After I left college it became apparent that the kind of job I was looking for in the long run was almost nowhere to be seen in my local area, so in the end I settled for a while in retail (and hated it) before transitioning into office work.

It wasn't until I discovered that I might be autistic that I started to think about whether I would have actually been able to do the job as an RSPCA inspector even though realistically the boat on chasing that dream was already long gone. As I started to learn more about autism, and theref…

Identity

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Many autistics consider autism to be an intertwined part of their identity rather than an additional condition that plays no part in defining them as a person. I'm one of the many who identify as autistic and I'll always use identity-first language rather than person-first language when talking about myself and other autistics, although I'm quite relaxed in what language other people use when talking about me.

Just for clarity:
Identity-first language = autistic person (e.g. "Dave is autistic")
Person-first language = person with autism (e.g. "Dave has autism")

Because I was late-diagnosed in my 30's and I'd never even considered autism as a realistic possibility until my mid-20's I obviously haven't always had that identity. In fact, until recent years I used to feel a distinct lack of identity. I spent my first quarter of a century or more trying to figure out who I am, wondering where I belong and searching for something that made me …

An Autistic Point Of View - The Campaign To End Loneliness

Earlier today I saw a video on Twitter from the Campaign To End Loneliness. This video is entitled Lets Talk More, it stars stand-up comedian and regular Mock The Week panelist Andy Parsons, and is aimed at getting people to talk to each other more with the goal of building little connections that help to combat loneliness. If you're interested in watching the video please click here. Let me first say that the idea behind the campaign is great, and I'm sure that with a reported 9 million people in the UK experiencing loneliness it's certainly something that can be considered a problem. However, my first thought upon seeing the video was that while most people would more than likely be happy to have little small-talk conversations with each other and would feel very comfortable with it, people like me definitely wouldn't. This is something that's common in the autistic community.

Seeing the video on Twitter earlier today was the first I'd heard of the Campaign T…

Autism At Work

Autism can often be a challenging thing to deal with in the workplace. Difficulties can occur every step of the way from getting an employer to hire you (especially if you disclose to them in the recruitment process that you're autistic), to carrying out your daily role if your employer is unwilling to make any adjustments or offer any allowances. Needless to say, all employees should be given the same chance to perform to the best of their ability in their role regardless of who they are or whether they have any physical or mental restrictions. Employers aren't always as flexible as they should be in providing these allowances though, and this is something that I personally have battled with for a year or so now (although I won't go into any specific details here on the blog).

It can often be the case that the simplest of things can make the biggest difference. Does the employee struggle with sensory overload from a noisy environment? The employer should let them wear noi…