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Life on the Autism Spectrum

Advice to other people diagnosed with autism

We asked people if they had any message they wanted to pass on to people diagnosed with autism spectrum conditions. Some people stressed that autism could have positive aspects and shouldn’t be perceived as a negative thing. 

 

Autism can bring certain challenges and difficulties to life but it can also enrich your life in...

Autism can bring certain challenges and difficulties to life but it can also enrich your life in...

Age at interview: 22
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 21
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Yes, if someone had just been diagnosed with Asperger's I think I would try and tell them that it’s actually not a bad thing to have, because obviously have Asperger's does mean you do have certain challenges and life can be a bit difficult in certain areas. It’s not, you know, it’s not ideal, but it’s not the worst thing in life to have. It’s not like a disease. It’s not going to kill you. It can give you quite great, great, I mean it can, in many ways, it can make your life quite… it can actually enrich your life in quite a few ways. Like I mean if I didn’t have Asperger's I wouldn’t be so, I wouldn’t develop so extreme interests. It can make you see things in a very orderly way. I mean I don’t know how many other with Asperger's have this, but for me, I have like a sort of layout in my mind, like quite visual kind of thing, colour, for like days of the week and things, months of the year, it’s kind of quite synaesthetic in a sort of way. I’ve always had that, and I’ve always been quite pleased about having that. I like seeing things in order.

And I think well I’d say if I didn’t have Asperger's I probably wouldn’t be quite so obsessive. But the obsessions are kind of not all bad, because okay there’s the OCD side I think it all kind of mingles in with the extreme interests which can be a problem but at the same time they bring enjoyment as well. So it’s not like my life is really bad. I mean it could be a lot worse. So I don’t think having Asperger's is a really bad thing. I don’t like it when people say you suffer for something, say suffering from Asperger's that implies it’s a disease, that implies that your problems rooted within you when often you place barriers because that’s because the way people see you, because they don’t understand. So it’s more for another people than yourself, who can make your life bad, but I don’t see it really as a bad thing. It’s not like you’re in pain, it’s not like you have to take drugs or you’re going to die. You know. So I don’t think it’s that bad.

 

 

People should see the person and not the disability.

People should see the person and not the disability.

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I don’t think people see that person, I just think they see that I don’t think they belong, they overlook the disability, and I also feel that these, these like a… these Leonard Cheshire adverts, I think sometimes they come on far too late at night, sometimes there on it, sort of like one and two o’clock in the morning. And how many people are up at that time in the morning, and a lot of people don’t see those, those adverts to see the person and not the disability. And I think, they are on far too late, and I don’t think there is enough awareness about disabilities. I don’t feel there is enough awareness about disabilities, especially in the workplace and I feel that people who work with people in any shape or form, whether it be in the college, or whether it just be in just a normal café or something like that, they should all, I mean I think the government should fund people to go on disability awareness courses, and because not everybody is the same who walks through the door. And they should be, they should have some kind of awareness of how to, how to treat people because it’s like they just don’t know how to treat them. They’re overlooked, and they might sort of like a little space in the corner, but why should you make a little space in the corner of a room or café or anything. They should be allowed to be integrated and they should be made welcome, but there isn’t just enough awareness for disabilities. 

Some messages were directed towards education, health and social care professionals. Alex, for example, suggested that professionals should spend five minutes trying to understand patients’ needs because this would make the rest of their treatment easier for them.

 

Education professionals should have more autism awareness training, and they should involve...

Education professionals should have more autism awareness training, and they should involve...

Age at interview: 22
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 5
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I think, I mentioned the job bit, haven’t I already? I think definitely that’s an area to improve on. I think more of an area at school like having, actually training teachers to spot people with autism and how, you know, how to deal with it, would be a lot better, rather than sort of just pulling us out of class and telling us off. Because you know, it’s not necessarily our fault, because you know, how we express things is completely, to someone with not autism. They’re able to sort of tell when they have a problem. We, we can’t do that. So yes, definitely in schools and also more from the government as well, I think there needs to be a separate area, I think separated in the educational side and the job side.
 
You know, a special side, you know, they have the educational side of it and just call it education and stuff like that, they should separate into special educational side, like where the people with autism and other people with the problems actually helping the schools deal with it. Because I think that would be really, really important for schools and that to have that, instead of just having some guy that says, “Oh yes, I know all this, I know all that.” Just does nothing, has noth… I mean they say they have understanding but to be honest, the best people to understand it, are the people that actually have the problem. Even they may not know it, but you know, they can tell you, you know, as long as you keep things very simplistic, you know, in asking me questions they’d have to very specific with it obviously.
 

A couple of people wanted others to know how they felt about having autism and that it wasn’t positive. The popular representation of autism on films such as Rainman or Mercury Rising was criticised by some who felt that people often expected people with autism to have savant characteristics.

 

Christopher wants more awareness about autism and feels it is like 'the cancer of the mental...

Christopher wants more awareness about autism and feels it is like 'the cancer of the mental...

Age at interview: 17
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 14
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I want in my opinion autism is like the cancer of the mental health world. Like cancer is the worst illness you could possibly have. In my opinion autism is probably the worst you can have. Because it’s like ever changing. There’s not, it just doesn’t stay the same ever. And that’s why I think doctors need to be really… all doctors in fact, all doctors, nurses, anything, need to actually be trained in dealing with mental health issues. Because any mental health issues, because it’s just the lack of understanding, and ignorance, ignorance breeds hatred.


 

 

Last reviewed February 2020.
Last updated November 2010.

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