I currently live in the area where I grew up. I was thinking on my walk (which I didn’t mean to do because I was supposed to be resting) how I was always the one that was bullied as a child and an adult growing up. I was constantly put down because people didn’t think that I could do anything. That was the expectation of Autistic people from the view of professionals and a lot of their Parents. The Autistic one was just ‘written off’ as soon they were given a label. The infancy of the Autism community was quite frustrating when I started my online website as a 17 year old (ahh, that was about 14 years ago now… over a decade). We only had those like Dr Tony Attwood (not Autistic but had relatives diagnosed), Luke Jackson, Lorna Wing (involved in founding the National Autistic Society, Donna Williams (who has since sadly passed away a few years ago in her early 50s) etc.
There wasn’t the scale of Autism professionals, individuals and advocating Parents as there is today. I had Parents come to the website that I ran back then saying that they hoped that their children turned out to be like me. I kind of feel old when I think that these children are now all teenagers. I had to fight for everything that I managed to achieve and came up against a vast amount of opposition in the form of stigma and attitudes from professionals that supposedly knew about Autism. There is still a lot of opposition today but the walls aren’t so steep to climb in many cases now.
I learned to drive not long after being diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. I missed the pass score by 2 on my first attempt at the theory test. I made stupid mistakes on the first attempt due to anxiety. However, I passed the practical test first time and didn’t get any minors because I knew I had messed up trying to back round a corner and asked if I could try it again. They were totally against people with forms of Autism driving at that time. I had lessons and my Dad took me out to practice in the most scary places. The little one track roads where there was passing places, if you happened to not be at one of those points someone ended up having to drive on the grass verge (which is when you hoped that it hadn’t been raining otherwise you may get stuck in there). If you are able to deal with that environment then the normal sized roads are less likely to cause you anxiety because they will seem less complex.
I have done a lot in the way of Art. I’ve won a few Christmas card designing competitions for various Autism charities. I never entered them consistently, just every so often. Recently, I entered an envelope design ‘A way with colour’ theme to an exhibition in London to help to raise money for the National Brain Appeal Charity. I’ve just registered to enter something for this years exhibition. I have until June to complete a design on their chosen theme and send it to them. I was in two minds whether to enter it this year until today.
The GCSE’s that the school system basically implied I would never be able to pass… I have now passed as an adult within the last few years. I’m about to complete the Maths level that I need and I’m actually able to do Maths now because I’ve applied myself to making sure that I went through it multiple times in a step by step method. If you know how they do the Maths nowadays, it is actually quite easy (I actually never thought that I’d ever say that about this subject). Before GCSE’s became compulsory, I did my BTEC National in Media Production. I got decent grades at Distinction, Merit, Merit while I was living down south. Unfortunately, just before I finished that qualification my Dad passed away so he never got to see what grade I received after 3 years of working on my BTEC.
I wrote a book about my life as a female with Autism entitled Tortured Soul: A Female Aspie’s Story while I was in the Autistic Treatment Unit and later the companies residential home. That is still able to be bought on lulu.com but I had to take it down from outlets due to privacy issues when I was going through the time of trying to stop my son’s adoption. I closed the website I used to run after I had someone falsely reporting me to social services who I had met via running it. I then started the blog as a new project to increase understanding of Autism. I want to teach others about Autism by talking about aspects of my life and Autism in general. I do cover other subjects too. I am a huge advocate for fighting prejudice and want to bring different groups of people together regardless of their beliefs or way of life. I know that this is potentially a hard task with the things that are currently going on in this world. I’m just a Hippie type that listens to older as well as modern music.
I used to sing quite a lot down south. I auditioned for things like X Factor/Britain’s Got Talent, as well as enjoying practicing for them at Karaoke. I haven’t sang for ages due to losing my confidence over the last few years. I’m sure that one day I will regain my confidence but not right now. I am anxious and timid which you’ll see on my rare videos. I’m told that it is very noticeable. I’ve recently ventured into new artistic stuff, like knitting (still learning that at a local group and with assistance of youtube). I used to make jewellery (beading based not silversmithing) but I haven’t done this for a while because I literally need to reorganise everything to see what I have got left in regards to materials.
I got myself into trouble and ended up where I did in life because of my Autism. I was always socially naïve, I don’t have any bad intent towards anyone. I had no social fear when I was younger. I only have it a bit now due to the negative, very painful things I’ve experienced. I wouldn’t steal or fleece anyone. I morally don’t believe in sleeping around. Unlike some members of my family who I shall not name because I don’t want to associate with their antics. I’m more sensible and mature than them despite the messes I’ve gotten into during my younger days. I’m still youngish at nearly 32. I met some really awful examples that I looked up to at the most vulnerable points of my life and got way too involved in their lives. I work very hard, to me, making a difference is a lot more important than any monetary reward. I listed some books (clearing out my flat) this evening and 10% of the profits are going to the PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance type Autism) Charity so that they can expand in the same way as NAS previously did for those with straight forward Autism. That may take years but if money keeps being collected to expand on their work then there may be some progress for that form of challenging Autism (I hate that term, but let’s face it, that is how people see PDA).