Sunday, March 31, 2019

54, from Portsmouth in the UK.

I'm not sure about my biggest accomplishment! I have accomplished a lot! I have two degrees-I have a PhD and BSc (with 1st class honours) in Chemical engineering. I've won prizes for papers I've written such as the Jim Gardner award for the best paper in the journal Gas Separation and Purification in 1991.

I'm a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of my professional institution and have a successful career (with only two short periods of unemployment in 35 years).
Over the years I have had major problems with alcohol and other drugs. Today I am nearly 10 years clean and sober.
I have been married for 29 years and we have three wonderful children. Family is the most important thing in my life.
Finally, I can honestly say that today I am a happy, content and confident person. That has not been easy.

Two things come to mind on what I wish those who don’t have autism to know.
Firstly, that autism is not an illness or a choice or, I believe, a disability. What is sometimes disabling is other people's ignorance and bigotry. Secondly, that autism is a lifelong condition - autistic children become autistic adults. And autistic adults need more resources and support.

The most helpful resources for me personally were a counsellor with autism specific training and experience. The 12 step program of Alcoholics Anonymous.

What I want other people who are autistic to know is that: learn about autism. Get support. But mostly be patient with, and kind to yourself

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