Autism is interpreted individually by each person who is diagnosed with the condition, and their families, partners, kids, and pals. Such a complex condition affects each individual in both negative and positive ways, making them vulnerable in some areas, but perhaps making them stronger in other areas.
A helping hand
Since I moved into outreach-supported housing some years back I've been supported to maintain my tenancy and my wellbeing. For example, I need help keeping my accommodation safe and tidy. Staff also help my emotional wellbeing by raising any concerns they have if they believe I'm becoming unwell either physically or emotionally. I’ve become more independent - but there's always room for improvement.
I have a passion for photographing and filming old steam trains, classic cars, WW2 aircraft, airliners and architecture. My favourite location is the Imperial War Museum at Duxford near Cambridge. I've fulfilled my ambition of sitting in the cockpit of an actual Spitfire! In my dad’s shed at his home is our model railway, a hobby I enjoy when I'm not busy doing Tenant Involvement work for my landlord Progress, or similar activities at Lifeways.
Over the last 10 to 15 years I've been increasingly involved with both my landlord, Progress Housing Group - as part of their Scrutiny Pool, and my support provider, Lifeways - in developing and improving the services that our tenants receive, by helping to interview prospective new support workers. In 2018, Progress Housing Group won local and national Tenant Participation Advisory Service (TPAS) awards for tenant involvement, and I was at both ceremonies!
"The ultimate goal would be the ability for all of us, including those with autism and mental health conditions, to make our positive contribution to society."
My goals for the future are to continue to make sure that all those who receive care and support packages have the best deals possible for them on the table - this includes their families, partners and friends too. I hope that autism awareness and advancing the opportunities for people with autism to live their lives to the full is always on the cutting edge of advancing disability awareness and acceptance.
The ultimate goal would be the ability for all of us, including those with autism and mental health conditions, to make our positive contribution to society, thereby making our country a great place to be. You only get out what you put into it. Even if you're volunteering a few hours a week in a charity shop or at a museum or tourist attraction, you're playing a valuable part in society!
Words of wisdom
If you want to be accepted in society and to be successful, you won't do it by sitting at home all day feeling sorry for yourself. There is an increasing level of support out there, and when you overcome the barrier of self doubt, you shouldn't feel any shame or stigma in seeking help and support to make a success of your life.
There is no shame in admitting that you need help.
David is a Progress Housing Group supported living tenant and part of our tenant involvement scrutiny pool, helping to identify what we do well and make recommendations for improvements in areas where we could do better.
David originally provided his insights into living with autism in a special interview with Lifeways for World Autism Awareness Week 2020, and kindly agreed for us to re-publish for World Autism Awareness Week 2021.
You can read David's original interview on the Lifeways website by clicking here.