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Being stressed when living with autism

view over seaI’m well stressed right now. I need to achieve something. Stress and feeling low is the driver that gets me on to creative things. When I’m happy I feel great with how things are. I think this is like a lot of artists, singers, and writers. Periods of intense creativity happen at times of feeling low. Today I have been reviewing and editing some things I have written about autism. I have worked in the field of autism for 25 years and studied it lots. I’m one of those old timers who have built up a great deal of expertise through work, reading, service development, reflection and my own autistic life. Even people with letters after their names come to see me for wisdom and guidance on things autism. I have a growing reputation as someone who knows and can sort out lots of lots of autism issues. I have been asked by psychologists, where did I train, when they seek my autism insight and knowledge. They don’t know what to say when I tell them I have read and studied lots but have not done this on a course at a university. They ask how I know about things only taught at higher levels. I say that I am always seeking knowlwge and insight so I can better serve the people I work for. The structure of my study comes from the needs and challenges found in my work. I only don’t know the answer once. I will study it as soon as possible, then put this into my larger framework for understanding autism and people in general. I have amassed a large collection of research papers, books, testimonies, articles and anonymised case studies from my work.

Sometimes I know that if I had studied autism formally I would have a relevant degree by now. I do have a degree but not in my work area. This gets frustrating as people who are less sure of themselves shut me out of the conversation because I am “not qualified”. People with more confidence come to me for the answers and insights they do not yet have, I like these people. They are the sort of people autistic people can get on well within a therapeutic relationship, they are so confident that they do not play politics and can get on with the truth, they are very good doctors, social workers, teachers and psychologists. Less confident people play games to keep other people down, and say they are good at autism work. I can sniff them out a mile away, so can every autistic person in my service. Thankfully the staff are good people where I work.

 

I have found many ways of working with autistic people, including those with learning disabilities. I honestly think there is less difference between autistic people than is often thought. Whatever our place on the autistic spectrum we live in a shared culture. We have more in common than any differences would suggest. When working with learning disabled autistic people my insights and theirs are so well aligned, we really are living in the same world. For a while I have been writing about this and other autism service areas as well as setting up as self employed doing autism training and mentoring. This is what I will work on while I am feeling low, like an artist does.