My youngest brother graduated last year with a degree in animation. We are all so proud of him, not only because he got a degree but also because my brother has dyslexia and Asperger’s. Due to the Asperger’s my brother has difficulty socialising, talking with people he doesn’t know and understanding things like sarcasm. However saying this I think University has done him some good as well as the book club for austic people organised and run by the team at SEPT he attends once a month. He is still shy but when we are at his graduation where once before he would have come and found his family afterwards we couldn’t find him anywhere! He was off having pictures with his class and saying bye to them, this is a big deal. When he saw us, me and our youngest sister sent him back to talk with the rest of the people on his course and to take his time. This may come as a bit of a surprise be me and my youngest sister can be a bit embarrassing for him so we kept our distance…it’s only because we care.
With the book club, there is either a book or a theme for topic of discussion; one week was about comic books, another was about Guy Fawkes. Some sessions my brother interacts more sometimes less all depending on the topic and his knowledge of it, but more importantly he spends time with people who are not his family.
Next steps for my brother is to find a job and to pass his driving test, in all fairness it is a lot more difficult to pass your driving test nowadays. I passed my driving test over 20 years ago, if I had to take my test I would probably fail even before we left the test centre car park!
Finding a job is where the whole new experience is a bit daunting for him and his confidence levels, depending on his mood can be a bit low. I honestly do not know how my brother would handle an interview and those experiences can be daunting enough for those of us who are considered ‘normal’. Those of you who think he maybe sitting around on his PlayStation he isn’t, one thing my brother isn’t is lazy. He has been improving his existing skills and learning new techniques with the aid of online tutorials. He’s always updating his Tumblr & Facebook accounts with latest bits of design work. Question is how do we get employers get past the social hurdles and the need to ‘sell’ himself to see the potential he has?
Whilst doing a bit of research for this blog piece I came across the website The National Autistic Society which has a page called advice about work. This site has some useful information, advice and tips that could benefit both a job seeker with autism and an employer with staff members who have autism. I also want to highlight that employers are potentially missing out on a diligent workforce because they are unable to think outside of the box.
We are seeing a lot in the media lately about the lack of mental health support available because of lack of funding but also because there still those who live in a bubble where if something doesn’t fit the cookie cutter mould then they can’t work with them. It is those people that cannot see beyond those boundaries to see the diamond hidden in the coal.
If anyone does see the same potential in my brother that his family do then contact him through his Tumblr page just remember he’s not going to fit a uniform mould but has qualities & talent that some of us ‘normal’ people could dream of having.
The Art of a Job Interview When You Have Asperger’s
The National Autistic Society; Advice about work
On mental health, the Tories need to put their money where their mouths are
Young people’s mental health services in the UK need cash not empty promises