An autism charity local to me (in Kent) has organised a one-day workshop next Monday (13th) for people in the area newly-diagnosed with Asperger's/HFA. Running the workshop will be people from Behavioural Support and Family Support. The focus is meant to be on the types of support available.
I've been invited to this one (it seems they're running 4 workshops per year), so I'll report back on anything I find out.
I'm going armed with a few questions!
God, this sounds just like what I originally needed post-diagnosis, but never got. That said, so long as the workshop is primarily operated by other autistics, and NOT allistics telling us how to feel, what to do, and how we 'should' be. For me, ever since I was diagnosed, I really could have done with some sort of 'autistic mentoring scheme' - whereby I could get advice from older, more experienced autistics a little further down the road, and who had made a success of things. The last thing I have needed is yet another allistic offering me ignorant - albeit well-intentioned - advice on what I 'should' do.
Please, do let us know how it goes Martian...
Will do. People diagnosed in the Kent area normally go through this Trust as part of the process, so are automatically invited to workshops.
I know the Behavioural Support person running the workshop and I've already told her that I am not interested in 'corrective' or 'adaptive' input, or 'therapy' - and she respects this. She said she thinks my experiences will be quite helpful, which is why I've been invited in spite of being diagnosed 3 years ago. 3 years, though, is comparatively recently for me considering the fact that I'll be 60 next year!
Yeah... one of the things I've found that separates me from my allistic peers is the temporal element of autism - insomuch that I tend to undertake things (be that relationships, new experiences or even processing my own thoughts etc) over significantly greater timeframes than other people. So whereas 3 years may seem a long time to allistics, to me that can seem like only minutes has passed!
No-one's ever talked about that as part of the various services I've been referred to...
Well... the workshop was okay, though it didn't help with what I thought it was meant to do - signpost to support and therapies. Having said that, we're quite lucky where I live in that we have that organisation that we can turn to. They offer workshops, support groups (for both autistics and families/carers), and a small level of 1-1 support.
The first half was focused on learning about autism and how it manifests. The second half was about coping strategies for anxiety and stress. To be honest, it's stuff that most of us already know. I mentioned these forums, though, and many people didn't know about them and were interested - so I did a bit of promotional work!
It was interesting hearing input from the others there - and a few people came up to me afterwards and thanked me for my input. It was gratifying to see a lot of nodding heads and hear a lot of 'Yeses' when I brought up my own experiences. It was a very supportive environment, too. I mentioned medication, and it was clear that the workshop leaders - managers in Family Support and Behavioural Support - didn't think conventional medication (anti-depressants) was much use. There was also talk about self-medication, and many people admitted to using alcohol and cannabis.
I'll look at some of the notes later and post anything if I think it's worth it.
It does seem a common theme for self medication, though people I speak to all seem to have different reasons why, or different things they are trying to dampen down.
I went to a post diagnosis group course here in Suffolk. It was a 6 x 2 hour session course attended by 7 - 9 people. I enjoyed the formal element of it with clearly defined times, in an environment where the NT people running it were 'outnumbered', but there to start the conversation, guide the sessions and help make that initial connection between people. They encouraged us to continue for ourselves afterwards, but that has not happened which is sad.
We ended on a really positive note: that autistic people have opened the doors for NTs. We're often the inventors and innovators. We don't slavishly 'go with the flow' and follow the rules. We shake off the shackles of social conditioning. We think laterally, and outside that cliche of a box! No wonder they struggle with us! We push them when it's easier for them to stay put.
I like that! Though I do find it hard sometimes when I need to try and see things from other peoples point of view
So do I. It hampers me in the fiction I write, because I struggle with the nuances of character. And I've upset many people by saying things that, on reflection, I can see can easily be taken the wrong way.
I struggle with creating things from scratch. However I can edit and modify things that are there already (artist vs Graphic designer) I think its a left right brain thing. I can do very good poetry which my doctor found odd, though when I explained its a case of rearranging words to either rhyme neatly with rhythm, or replicate a deep and meaningful thought process he laughed and agreed with me I have managed to manufacture a systematic poetry process. It does mean I can rattle out poems that sound very deep in minutes. I just don't see the same meaning in them that others do when they read them
I'm predominantly right-brain and have always been highly imaginative. I can rarely create things from scratch, though, and generally need a prompt - such as a few random words, an image, a piece of a song. I've written huge amounts of fiction and poetry, and had a few things published. I'm also a self-taught designer/artist, using image-editing tools.