ASC – And You’re Sure to Find Out.

Imagine...

Imagine…

It’s a year today since I received my formal diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome – an autistic spectrum condition – and after initial relief, came a very steep learning curve culminating, largely, in total trust in my instincts over logic which can be completely subjective.

The most beneficial but difficult element has been in discovering who my friends are NOT, followed by understanding the meaning of words like ‘support’ and ‘service’ – often translating, very accurately, as a means by which to exploit someone with a vulnerability for one’s own ends.  I was aware of that and fell out with my employers because of it but I hadn’t counted on being in that situation myself as I went on to discover, despite the knowledge of my diagnosis. My instinct remained to trust and expect that others would ‘do the right thing – why wouldn’t they?’

Well there are lots of reasons.  Weakness is at the basis of all the reasons and cowardice drifts in at various points too, but it is clear that many think they just have the right to take without ever giving and will be aware of doing real harm to people because they want what they want despite that knowledge.  So my naivety was laid so bare that even I saw it and how my employers must have seen it too, given how they changed every aspect of the productive work I had delivered on which they had relied so much until my objection to their exploitation of the service users. Continue reading

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The Ugly, the Bad – Now the Good

People get to you – they get to me but it never ceases to amaze me how many rotten apples it takes to join forces to cover up their wrongdoing and how few people it can take to counter that balance with a little goodness, sincerity or unaffected behaviour.

I have an accent that will not make me popular here and an expectation that people will appreciate honesty – despite all evidence to the contrary.  But among the perennial weeds of life’s bountiful garden I have encountered some blooming wonders – in people, as well as in nature.

My first encounter with a large group of learning disabled adults was a sensory overload in terms of sound and activity but beyond that I began to see that these new companions were among the best people I had ever met in my life.  They had humour, enthusiasm, a desire to please and succeed beyond the norm and most of all, a communally strong sense of right and wrong, honest, certainly, beyond what I saw as the norm.

As we began to work together I learned so much from the group who devised the most ingenious ways around obstacles in life to achieve real, individual successes that would be overlooked by the busying masses, using slight of hand to ‘look good’ in a bad way.

Don’t ever underestimate learning disabled, autistic, disabled – whatever you find a person to be on first meeting them, because human nature can be wonderful.  The ones you trust because they seem smart, forceful, trustworthy… are probably the ones with the best qualifications to be a con artist – but see what you find by not judging the book by its cover.

Beware, though, honesty and insight are very threatening to such people and the wonderful people I spoke of at first are prey to these types.  Many of them had degrees of autism from the vast spectrum, so perhaps that was the innate link of understanding we shared – I just didn’t understand it then but from the way they welcomed me, they recognised something way beyond anything I could then, while I was trying to cope with the noise of laughter.

There is a school of thought that we autistics – or whatever term you use – are the next phase of human evolution.  Interesting.  No wonder the dinosaur, self serving liars and manipulators are worried, though we are jumping the gun a little in terms of time scales.

The other group of people I have met who impress me with their similar sense of decency are the ones I’ve met along the path of recovery from the stress place on those of us who care.  From all walks of life and backgrounds, so many of these people have worked for a charity, raised concerns, paid the price, but they hang in there and from them, goodness will ripple outwards still, albeit in a thwarted and reduced way.  We are what we are, which explains much of the desperation of the lowlifes, to be pitied.  We pity the wrong people.  We pity those with some of the best qualities most can never achieve, because it isn’t perceived to be the very strong and powerful force it is.

Care Costs

Would anyone round here enable Glasgow’s vulnerable to be manipulated because they are an easy target? Surely not.  We have an elected city council charged with some tricky financial balancing acts in these times; could they become targets themselves by operators who can provide a better service and for less? On the surface it sounds like it would make sense to follow up on such claims but you have to think who are the best con artists you can think of?  The ones you’d least suspect to leave you with no options and call that self direction.

Consider an air of respectability, a worthy aim, a charitable status and demonstrations of justification for public funding, funding from your pocket and from mine. Consider a long history of providing a service for vulnerable adults that was second to none.  I say was because it clearly was back in the day when family members got together to make something better than there was for the vulnerable loved ones in their care.  Their concern for what might happen to them after they were no longer there created something to be proud of and something that did what it was set up for.

Decades later this shifts to the control of a group with the promise of better care, better management and greater financial clout to ensure this continues.  This is the point where care and commerce become very uncomfortable bedfellows.  If you care do you do it for the money?  Aren’t the ones caring enough to do the caring left behind as the money rolls in to benefit the rest who talk about caring? Continue reading

Debatable Independence?

Aroused by the prospect of change.

Hopes, fears, passions rising, it’s getting heated, confusing, loud, bright, fierce, unsettling.  Too many people around me, too close, it’s all too close.  Where can I take refuge in predictability?  Where can I feel safe in the comfort of routine and structure?

Is this what we have to endure until the Scottish Independence Referendumb is concluded?  Well, yes, unless you have an ASD, then it’s just a ‘normal’ day.

Calmeth down.

Faith

According to George Michael, ‘You gotta have faith’ but if it’s misplaced then it’s a recipe for disappointment or worse.  I’ve supported people and causes wholeheartedly and generously only to find myself having been used and my good nature abused.  My own fault, I’d normally think, I’m old enough to know better but it’s taken me this long to learn I have a developmental disability, which seems suitably ironic.   Doing so, however, has given me a whole new perspective in terms of many of my life events. Continue reading

Independence

My German barber, Herr Kutz, has shown real interest in the range of developmental disorders within the autistic spectrum, since my diagnosis.  Their level of severity is as variable, too. ‘They are recognisable, though’, he concluded, ‘within definable boundaries unlike the myriad of differences among everyone else outside of the spectrum.’ Wow, he speaks my language.

And so, the conversation moved to how variable is the level of independence shown by individuals within and without the spectrum.  ‘A great deal of it is not just one’s ability to be independent but one’s desire to be independent – then there’s the definition of what counts for independence’ He said.  A moot point here in Scotland, as the Independence Referendum approaches rapidly. Continue reading