Me, myself and I

What have you decided to do for Valentines Day this year? How are you planning to show your love for your significant other at the time of year where we are meant to appreciate the person who has decided to give themselves to you?

Will you be going out for a romantic meal? Perhaps a nice stroll afterwards under the moonlight and stars? Maybe even a flight if you’ve had the forward planning to take an umbrella along on what is shaping to be another windy winter’s night?

That sounds lovely doesn’t it? Or does the thought of relaxing and sitting in the warmth at home sound a better option? I’ve felt like I’ve wanted to have a partner in recent years but for the first time in a long time, Valentines Day hasn’t got me down in 2014 and I think I’ve figured out the reason why. Continue reading

A checklist for the unemployed (and autistic)!

Having tried to find employment for people with autism in Great Britain, I’ve recently started the process of hoping I’ve managed to make a good impression on society and show how anybody with autism can function if they become an autistic employee.

I’ve joined the ranks of Britain’s unemployed and have remembered how it feels to be looking for employment. I’ve started the process of joining countless online recruitment agencies and I’ve started to apply for job vacancies again, but there is a difference this time.

Through understanding what my talents are in a way I haven’t experienced before and by finding the fire in my belly by setting up Autistic Achievers as a service which helped me to approach employers in a whole new way, I feel confident. I know what I need to do in order to find my dream job, and I know the checklist I have to follow! Continue reading

Faaabulous! A review of Wolverhampton Grand Theatre’s Sleeping Beauty relaxed performance

It would have been difficult to not feel moved by what the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre and the cast and crew of Sleeping Beauty, the theatre’s Christmas pantomime for 2013, did on Thursday 16th January 2014 for autistic people.

By organising and being part of a relaxed performance of the production, a matinee showing was adapted to the needs of autistic people and by looking at the reaction of autistic people as they left the theatre and the cast as they left the stage, over a year of hard work and planning had been worth every second.

Going along as a 27-year-old who has lived with and got to know a high-functioning form of Aspergers Syndrome inside out through good and bad moments, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew there may be some sensory overload from autistic people who had bought tickets to watch the performance and I knew some of the story may not have been understood, but I was blown away as I sat and took notes with other bloggers. Continue reading

Can you grow out of being autistic?

Aspergers Syndrome has been a part of me for as long as I can remember. While I’ve experienced new things as a child and adult, and faced new challenges in life, autism has been my constant.

What I’ve found recently though is how Aspergers, or autism in general, can evolve as you grow, and also how vast the autistic spectrum really is. I always thought being low-achieving meant you struggled to walk, talk or communicate at all, while being high-achieving meant you could look after yourself and do anything you want to do with your life.

It isn’t so easy though is it? Even if you’ve learned to look people in the eye, understand when somebody is being sarcastic and develop the confidence to take the world and its challenges on, there are still surprise autistic quirks aren’t there? Continue reading

Is Christmas time really all Mistletoe and Wine?

By asking people with autism or family and friends of loved ones with autism from around the world about how Christmas affects the routines and general calm that a lot of help and support can create in everyday life on Facebook and Twitter, the next week or so will be loved and loathed in equal measure.

Where Joel will be more than happy to play Santa on Christmas morning by giving out presents to loved ones and then enjoying their reactions in Australia, Leonie will be excited in the Netherlands as she will have a break from a Christmas period that usually stresses her out.

Jojo will just be happy to end the stressful build-up and just enjoy the big day in Britain, while Kristi’s son will also be in Blighty but will be joyfully eat cereal in another room. These interesting stories will hopefully bring a hardly unusual fact of autism home! Continue reading

A socially awkward superhero

I’m a socially awkward superhero.

Whether I am meeting somebody and holding back when they look like they want to go in for a bit of a cuddle, or probably a quick embrace to be friendly, or when I am on Facebook and Twitter and getting annoyed by friends or followers, I’m rubbish at following the protocol of what I should do.

There is always a feeling that I cannot read the signs in my real life and also my life on social media, but I’m wondering why this is. Do I have poor communication skills as a result of trying to figure out the Asperger’s Syndrome that I live with, or am I just over-thinking the whole idea of social etiquette? Please walk with me as I share my thoughts, and feel free to like or favourite this foray into my superhero mind! Continue reading

What is ABA, and is it a help or a hinderance? – Jennifer Hubbard’s view

When Autism: Challenging Behaviour was first broadcast on BBC Four on Tuesday 5th November 2013, it opened up the idea of using Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) as a therapy which could help autistic children to improve their developmental skills through intensive support and praise.

By focussing on the work that is done at Treetops School, a state school in Grays, Essex which is run as a day special school for children and young people with moderate to severe learning difficulties, and also on the work of Gunnar Frederiksen, an ABA consultant in Sweden, the documentary showed how ABA can help or hinder an autistic person through focussing on three case studies.

The results on screen for three-year-old Jack and four-year-old Jeremiah were positive to see from their care at Treetops, though 16-year-old Richard seemed profoundly affected by the therapy he received as a child from Gunnar. This provoked a positive and negative response, even though views were not shared at the time of writing What is ABA, and is it a help or a hinderance? by anybody directly linked with ABA at Treetops or with Gunnar himself. Continue reading