I refuse to let Autism define me

02 August 2016

Guest blogger Alex says that a good life awaits those who refuse to be defined by Autism

I would describe Autism as a disability which affects your capacity to interact socially, to build relationships. It can make you behave in ways that other people find strange.

Everyone is different but, for example, I used to hum and flap my hands which I’m sure people didn’t understand. The best way I can think to describe it is that people with Autism find it harder than average to connect with the people around them.

"Having Autism means that some of things that I think, or say, or do can seem perfectly normal to me, but other people simply don’t understand."

It can be like you’re speaking a different language. I might think that something is funny where others don’t. For example my jokes might be in riddles, which other people just think are strange and I don’t understand why.

Another challenge is taking into consideration how other people are feeling. I tend to be instinctively self-centred – I can keep going on, talking non-stop at people without realising what that other person is thinking or feeling. I tend to look at what other people can do for me, my own personal agenda, not what they might like to do themselves. Other people’s priorities don’t automatically occur to me as something I need to think about, and when they do it’s often too late.

It goes without saying that it’s hard to forge personal relationships if you don’t tend to consider other people’s feelings and needs. That said, I do have friends but I suppose that’s because I work hard to relate better to people. I have periods of being considerate but I know that sometimes I lapse - there is still room for a lot of improvement, but I do try very hard.

"My family understands me very well, but in society generally there could definitely be greater awareness of what Autism means and a better understanding of the fact that, at the end of the day, we’re just people who want to live a happy and fulfilling life like everyone else."

I’m a supported employee with Endeavour Foundation. The people I work alongside have got to know me and understand me over time, but most other environments outside of those specifically catering for people with a disability find it harder to relate to people with Autism.

For those same reasons I had a difficult time when I was in a mainstream school – my childhood outside our home was pretty tough. I probably did seem strange to other children, but that comes back to the fact that I just wasn’t tuned in to other people. When I moved to a special school, and was able to learn in smaller groups, I felt much more comfortable.

My family have been a huge help – it’s thanks to them that I live the life I do. The truth is that without my mum, dad and sister, and the various therapies I received, I wouldn’t be the man I am today.

It’s so important to work, contribute and socialise – getting about in your community is the best way to make Autism like a background part of your life. It’s a matter of living life despite Autism, rather than being defined by it.

The one message that I think everyone needs to hear is that, with support and encouragement, people with Autism can live really good lives.

Contact us to find out how we can support you

Share:    



Other blogs and information you maybe interested in

How the NDIS can help you move out of home

Goals are a big part of NDIS plans, and a really common one is to move out of the family home.

Myths about the Disability Support Pension (DSP)

The DSP exists to help Australians who have a permanent physical, intellectual or psychiatric condition that stops them from working

How to use the NDIS to get more independence and daily living skills

We all need a lot of skills in our day to day lives and most of us like to have as much independence as we can, to do the things we want and need to.

How disability day services have changed

As the world has changed, so too has the calibre of disability supports. A perfect example of this is disability day services. These community-minded hubs are a far cry from the institutionalised settings of old.

Nambour Brushers

So much more than an art group!

Sally is part of our incredible Nambour team and she won an award for her art program, the Nambour Brushers. Watch the video to find out what makes this group so special.

Ndis can help you smash your health and fitness goals

We all know that health and fitness is important for us to live happy and healthy lives, but how does all that work if it’s one of your NDIS goals?