Members Advice on Autism
2 reviews from the community
Review of "Members Advice on Autism"
And now the long haul to Gold is on!
The following review tells the story of my own journey in to the world of autism, which I hope you find useful and interesting in some small way.Growing up at school, I was always seen as being a bit of a loner – I had very few friends; I suffered with a really bad stammer, and I just kept my head down and tried my best to study and get some fairly decent grades. I wasn’t very much in to sport, or even not even very good at it when I put some form of effort in – apart from swimming and surfing, which was something that I knew that I could do in my own time and at my own pace.
Dates; facts, and in fact anything technical in terms of maps and similar things always fascinated me – I could also pick something up and start doing it almost instantly, including learning to use a computer (or laptop or any other electrical piece of equipment that is used in day to day life) and even driving a car (which is good in the job that I am currently doing!).However, there were certain things that would always throw me rather much off course in my life – I like to know how and when things are going to happen (or at least have a general idea of how the day will pan out), although this is something that in recent weeks or months I have learnt to adapt to a little as my current job is one whereby anything could happen once the initial plans have been made (but with the changes actually being nothing to do directly with me as such).
I also need to have fairly clear instructions laid out telling me exactly what to do or how to do it, and then struggle further when they are changed too much or someone tells me to do something that contradicts what they said in the first place. This was very much evident in one job that I had whilst working in a four star hotel on the outskirts of Plymouth, whereby as a part of the housekeeping team I had to ensure the high standards of cleanliness in all areas including guest bedrooms.I was told that as the team was small and we all worked together, we had to work to speed whilst still maintaining high standards – meaning that without really meaning to I missed some bits, and was then told to pay more attention. This then led to me being told that I was too slow thus holding everyone up, and I was told that I was not suited to the job role – however I do also feel that the diagnosis of autism I received just a couple of weeks before starting here had something to do with it, but this will come along little later on in the course of my review.
I have also found throughout the years that I have been struggling with verbal communication – both from a personal point of view in knowing what it is that I want to say but in not being able to convey it in a concise manner, and also through not really being able to interpret what is being said to me in anything more than a literal manner and not being able to pick up on certain hints or undertones as quickly as other people (if indeed at all in some instances). And also along with this I have found that I have done or said things without really thinking until afterwards what has happened, quite often with my actions having resulted in losing a job or being threatened with police action.And as well as having all of the above happening, I have also suffered quite significantly with stress and anxiety issues with a big dollop of OCD being thrown in – resulting in counselling or other therapy sessions, and alcohol support following a certain amount of alcohol misuse which I thought would have helped me at the time (but didn’t totally!). Along with these other areas I would also take things to heart just a little bit too much on the literal side, and any little thing that would happen I would take to heart and stress and worry over it too much – and sometimes to the point where it would make me ill, and bring on a very severe migraine.
A lot of these things either altogether or as a combination of things have made me think down the years that perhaps there was something different with me – I have always hated the phrase ‘something is wrong with me’, as to me this sounds as if I am living with an incurable or life limiting condition that cannot be controlled by any means. Which led me to having a slightly difficult conversation with my GP, who in my mind rather reluctantly referred me to the local Mental Health team in Plymouth for an assessment.This assessment was then a struggle in itself, as the Consultant Psychiatrist who treated me made me feel really rather small and as though I was a small child being told off. He attempted to allow me to tell my story, whilst all the time interjecting with what he thought were helpful interruptions – but ones which only really made me feel a lot worse than what I was already!
But after about an hour, he told me what I and those closest to me had always thought – autism. However he said that it would not appear on the surface perhaps as highly as some other people would have it, but it was definitely there which would account for how I had been feeling for most of my life right up until that point – although it was definitely there, and by researching further on a more personal level it would appear that perhaps he had not rated me as highly as he should have done. And at the age of 34, at least I knew perhaps just a little bit more about myself than I had done so up until that point. Yet in some ways although this was a new phase in my life which I was looking forward to, there were still some other areas that I found would prove more difficult.Following on from receiving my diagnosis, I was put in touch with the local support group that came under the nationwide charity known as the National Autistic Society (or NAS for sort). And for me, this was a breath of fresh air as it meant that I could in a calm and supportive environment meet those who were similar to me and gain a different aspect to my social life – which has proved beneficial on many levels for me, as it has not only helped me to face my fears and work through certain issues but it has also meant that I have been able to get out and about and get on with my life in a much more positive way in the community. Those people who I have also known for a longer period of time (that is to say before I received my diagnosis) have all pretty much been very supportive, but there have been a few people who have found it difficult to deal with – however this does not really upset me as such, as that is their own lookout.
However in other areas, having received this diagnosis of autism has proved more of a hindrance – the main area of course as already having been mentioned, of employment. I can now see that in the past certain things that have happened to or through me in past employment can be directly linked to what I now know to be autism, however it was when working at the aforementioned hotel that I feel in a roundabout way this was also what had contributed to me being let go of from there. I had received my diagnosis of autism back on the first of December 2016, and then started working in the hotel about two weeks on from this. However as in my mind I was still trying to get my head around my diagnosis, I didn’t tell them at first – after all, I was only going to be cleaning rooms right!?But my supervisor then starting going on about one of the local mental health organisations who had been contacting her on a number of occasions, with the view to her taking on and supporting individuals about once a week with moderate to severe autism or other such similar conditions on a voluntary basis – one which then made me feel that it was only right to let her know. However this then led to me being phoned up the next day, and saying that I was no longer suited to working there – I knew that I struggled with the work that was expected of me, and so went to sign on.
Through talking with my Work Coach at the Jobcentre, we felt that it would take up far too much time in trying to get anywhere in terms of trying to work out if my diagnosis was the cause of being let go – but to use this as a further learning experience, and being up front and honest when applying for more work in the future.Employers then were better placed to advise me on how best my diagnosis would affect my potential in working with them, which is something that I found to be true – although some didn’t even bother to entertain me any further once they know about this, even though I felt they were keen to take me on before they knew of it (some employers didn’t wish to know about this until the actual interview stage, some didn’t ask for details of how I may need support in the application stage, but only when they invited me to interview would they ask). I am however just thankful that I now have a job that for the time being I am enjoying, and I have a lot of great people to work with.
However it has not all been bad, and in the same way it has not all been good – but it certainly has been an experience, one which I am thankful to say I have been through and would do it all again. I am just grateful that I am who I am, and even though at times I struggle with it I do not really care what other people think about it – after all, we do all have our own personal struggles to go through and others may be suffering in ways that are far worse than my own.My advice to you would be that if you feel that either you personally or someone else that you know of is struggling with the possibility of having autism, then find someone to talk things through with – and of course, get that all important diagnosis. Speak to your own GP or a local counselling service (or similar such thing depending of course on where you live), or even go through the NAS website for support – they will be best placed on how or where to get the right levels of support to help you out in times of trouble.
I hope that this review has been of some help to you, and it has been a pleasure in being able to share just some of my story with you.Thanks for reading!
Product Information : Members Advice on Autism
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Listed on Ciao since: 07/10/2015