Posts tagged: blogs

Guest Blog #003

My experience of Autism Spectrum Conditions is different to others that have written this week. Mine is that of a parent to a child on the spectrum, no doubt a position I share with many others if national statistics are to be believed.

My journey started 7yrs ago when my eldest daughter started to self-harm as part of what could best be termed as “meltdowns”. It was horrible to watch this destructive behaviour in someone so young, she was only 7 at the time, and to not really understand why she felt this way. Even more crushing was the feeling that as parents we didn’t know how to help and often what we did made things worse.

After getting some initial help from the local child services things started to make sense. She was initially misdiagnosed but the more we looked into things the more we realised she had Aspergers. We tried lots of strategies and slowly but surely we were able to find ways to help her and prevent her destructive meltdowns. The key to this was realising it wasn’t about trying to change our daughter but to change the environment around her. We found ways to help her take away the need to self-harm, ways to self-regulate her anxiety and ways to help her deal with the every day problems of being a teenager.

It still remains a “hidden condition” and if you met her for 5 minutes it’s doubtful you would realise but at certain times, and certain situations, you would spot some of her quirks that sometimes mark her out from the crowd. Over time she has learned to accept this and uses her unique personality to her advantage. Like many others on the spectrum she has one thing she is fascinated by; hers is make-up. However, as a 14yr old girl this isn’t such a bad thing as she now completes the makeup for all her school drama groups and has made new friends that way. She could put some of the staff at Selfridges to shame with her skills no doubt!

As a parent though, try not to shield your ASC child from the outside world but introduce them to it slowly. It’s very easy to wrap them up in cotton wool but at some point the ability to stand on their own two feet can do wonders for their self-esteem and confidence.

It’s taken a number of years to turn the corner but it is possible and we can see a bright future for her.


Guest Blog #002

I only  got diagnosed a couple of years ago ; it  came about as a result of a few issues happening at the same time. Firstly id been googling autism as I thought my Dad was displaying symptoms, then the more I read it, the more I thought oops this is actually me. This happened at the same time as I was really struggling to relate to a line manager; I was so intolerant,  and so irritated by him. I couldn’t understand why none of my colleagues said  anything  – but me, well  I could barely understand anything he said so I was always challenging.

I had also been struggling to parent my daughter since she started high school. We just cant talk to each other. Despite my efforts to be supportive,  I have fixed views – my world is black and white with no shades of grey and I follow rules to the letter. When school doesnt stick to the rules that they have made- whether that is uniform standards or homework expectation, she tells me im “pecking her head”.  In my mind Im just following the rules; but I accept I can sound obsessive. She is embarrassed by me, my hobbies and my obsessions which is a little sad –  but one day I will explain my condition to her and Im sure we will get over this difficult period.

Getting a diagnosis slotted so many things into place – I used to think I was social phobic, I hate public occasions where I might have to do small talk and I can’t cope with spontaneity  – a sudden change of plan creates anxiety and I have to break things down bit by bit to work out that I don’t need to be anxious ..

Ive been an Inspector a long time, and all my career Ive been told I was challenging, sometimes awkward and fixated but I now know thats why I’ve migrated to certain roles where I use my quirks to my advantage. Im very skilled at report writing, planning, doing detail. Im reliable because I take thing seriously. There are some many roles in the police  – we absolutely can find roles that suit our skill set – there are even companies out there that specifically recruit autistic people because of our special talents.

Its all about understanding.


Guest Blog #001

Being given a diagnosis of Asperger’s was no surprise to me. I’ve always known, you can’t possibly have a 20 year old son with Asperger’s and not realise you’re on the spectrum too.  I used to be an operational Police Officer and never felt the need to obtain a diagnosis, but in recent years I have been office bound and found the office environment to be hell on earth!  Obtaining a diagnosis was the first step to getting my supervisors to understand, and was also a key tool in obtaining the reasonable adjustments needed.

 

Air conditioning, fluorescent lighting, messy desks, and other people daring to move things around on my desk, all drive me insane.  When someone puts the radio on in the office I can almost feel myself reaching for my coat and wanting to head home. I cannot filter out the noise from the radio, and on many occasions have found myself typing the lyrics to the song playing on to the Crime Report.   These sensory processing issues leave me feeling absolutely exhausted by the end of the shift. I barely get through a shift without experiencing some kind of sensory overload.  Being able to escape to a quiet empty room is heaven to me.

Sometimes I enjoy speaking with my colleagues, but other days I would much prefer to be “people free.”  Being honest, I would be happier in an office full of cats! Making conversation with people who almost speak a foreign language to me is tiring and painful. The constant changing inconsistent social rules of the office make no sense to me.

I hate the stereotypes associated with Asperger’s, especially when people expect me to be sensational at maths and a computer geek. I struggle with computers, and I couldn’t honestly do primary school maths!  I much prefer spelling, and I am a bit of a grammar guru. I am very intolerant of other people’s poor spelling and grammar. Some say I am obsessed, but I just like things to be right.

Truthfully, I love Being Asperger’s and I am grateful that I am articulate and see things others cannot see.  I love that I am comfortable in my own life and don’t have a constant need for interaction with others.

People often say things like, “How can you be Autistic when you have 4 A-Levels and a degree?”  Somebody recently said to me, “You’ve done really well in life in spite of your Asperger’s.”                              I corrected them and replied, “No, not in spite of my Asperger’s, because of my Asperger’s.”