What is autism?

For me, I struggle to communicate and get my point across.  I get social anxiety and struggle to leave the house, and I often work myself up to the point of vomiting sometimes. Fidgeting and touching things is also an issue.  I also suffer with Tourette’s and this is something that I am conscious of due to physical ticks. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 9 too, this is something that comes up in adult life when I am stressed and as a result I am under the mental health team.


Can you tell us what it’s like living with autism?

Tough at times.  If people don’t know me I feel I have to tell them so they understand a bit better.  Also, if I have something in my head I have to just do it.  To give an example I resigned my job on a split decision, something I regretted immediately.  Fortunately, I was able to return, as my line manager understood my additional needs and why I did it.


Is there anything in the workplace that you find challenging because of autism?

Feeling motivated – if I am bored, I can lose concentration easily. I need jobs that keep me busy.


Is there anything your colleagues could do to support you in the workplace?

That is a tough one, I don’t know if I would want them to change anything.  Maybe when I am struggling they could be more aware of my reasons and then act appropriately instead of assuming the worst of me, or trying to engage in ‘banter’. Sometimes it is assumed that I am lazy, but I just have my own way of doing things.  I do think that supervisors and managers should be more aware of Mental Health issues – and I think it is a bit worse for men as you are expected to be ‘a bloke’.