I am autistic

The Autism Act (2009), Equality Act (2010) & Care Act (2014) have made life much easier for autistic people. Now local authorities, employers, government agencies and service providers are obliged to train their staff and cater for autistic adults.

I know this, and I know it would make my life much easier to let people know but this seems such a huge thing to do. What if a huge commotion is caused? I don’t need lots of meetings or assessments or people whispering behind closed doors. I also have no interest in filling quotas for ‘disadvantaged groups’.

One of the biggest things I have trouble asking for is for ‘reasonable adjustments’ to be made (despite the fact they legally have to be made). I can’t be bothered explaining to people who don’t understand, what counts as a reasonable adjustment and the idea of being at the centre of a drama is terrifying.

Yet due to the levels of greater awareness and the increasing legislation, I am starting to find that people know.

The first time I told a stranger I was autistic was the optician. I find medical stuff very hard, in fact the previous time I went for an eye test, I got so stressed I feinted. Yet as soon as I said I was autistic, the whole demeanour of the optician changed and the appointment went fine.

A couple of months later, I messed up my tax return. Having such a long and complicated form to fill in, is so tough and this year I got it completely wrong. I was so worried about phoning Inland Revenue, I didn’t sleep for three days. I even practised phoning the number the day before. Yet when I said I was autistic, the tax inspector sorted it within seconds (and found additional savings, I wasn’t even aware of).

More recently, I have told people on two other occasions – once at the GP surgery, once at the council office. Both times the clouds lifted. In fact, I got very stressed at the council office and the official stepped away and let me gather before carrying on.

Part of my late autism diagnosis is not just learning how is affects me but how it affects how people deal with me. If I can carry on being strong and telling people I come into contact with, my life will be simpler. But this is still so scary…

One thought on “I am autistic

  1. It is a difficult thing when you are diagnosed with a condition. You suddenly find yourself with this ‘thing’ that you don’t know enough about. So you research the ‘thing’. It helps you understand all the ‘things’ that you had wondered about and worried about, but it becomes difficult to separate ‘you’ from the ‘thing’. It takes over your life. The knack is to understand that sometimes labels and boxes are useful and other they are not. No-one is their label and we all work best outside the box.

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