Some people on the autism spectrum find that certain things go wrong for them over and over again. Despite trying their hardest, some things just don’t work. For example, friendships might succeed for a while and then it goes wrong. They don’t know why this is, and they don’t know how to fix it.
Sometimes, they are brilliant in specific areas of work or study, but this is never recognised because difficulties with something else gets in the way of success. It is a frustrating cycle of never meeting potential.
Often, these are issues that can be addressed through autism help such as fixed term or one-off autism consultancy services offered by Aspiedent.
Below are two fictitious examples of how Aspiedent’s Autism Consultancy services might help you or autistic adults or young people you are supporting. These examples are loosely based on a mixture of individuals we have previously worked with.
Jack, 21, came for an initial appointment with Aspiedent with his Mum after she had got in touch concerned about his education. Jack had an aspergers diagnosis although he described himself as having mild autism and had always been very bright. However, he was struggling to pass his second year at University. He had tried and failed twice. At his first Aspiedent appointment, he felt very anxious and did not know what to expect.
Dr Guest led the appointment and started off by asking Jack apparently unrelated questions about his daily life and his interests. When Jack had relaxed, he began sharing lots of things about his interests, his views on the world and his favourite subjects at University.
He had a mentor through the university disability services, various software aids and supportive tutors who had autism awareness and tried to present information in a way he could grasp. Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough, and he was now at risk of losing his place on the course if he could not pass his third attempt. There were two particular modules which Jack seemed to struggle with.
During his appointment, Dr Guest was able to build a cognitive profile of Jack and rule out any major sensory issues which might be affecting him. It did not take her long to work out why Jack struggled so much with particular modules and make some immediate suggestions regarding how to study for them. This was due to her expert understanding of autism.
Jack was also advised on what types of further study and career would best suit his cognitive profile, and of which he would be eligible for if he passed his degree.
Jack made one further visit to Aspiedent to report back the success of the suggested study techniques, and to receive some more ideas which Dr Guest had come up with in the week after his appointment.
His Mum got in touch six months later to let us know that Jack had managed to scrape through the required modules so that he would receive his degree, and that he had done extremely well on his dissertation. She noted that Jack had a much better idea of what his strengths and weaknesses were now and was planning to go on to study a Masters in something he knew he enjoyed and could excel at.
Sophie was a 19 year old with an autism diagnosis and came to see Aspiedent with her social worker and her supported living worker. She had no family around her and was currently in supported living. She was a friendly and lively individual who loved people and liked to talk a lot. However, she had recently become low in mood due to a series of failed friendships. She was becoming socially isolated and her support worker was starting to get worried. Because of this and Sophie’s autism and depression, Sophie’s social worker had started taking her out to do social activities, so that she wasn’t spending too much time alone in her room.
Sophie reported incidents where she had apparently offended previous friends without understanding why. One friend had got very upset with Sophie and started shouting at her in the street. This upset and confused Sophie. Since then, she was scared to try to make any more friends. There had also been a time when she had been asked to leave her local coffee shop for reasons of ‘harassment’ of staff.
After a few initial consultancy sessions, Dr Guest was able to identify that Sophie had misunderstood deep and shallow relationships, and non-autistic ways of social interaction. This was even though she had, had ‘social skills training’ for her autism before. Because Dr Guest is an autistic autism expert, and also understands the sheer breadth and complexity of autism, she was able to explain social interaction to Sophie from Sophie’s own autistic perspective. Sophie was also very visual and struggled to think abstractly. Dr Guest picked this up quickly and was able to adapt her communication style to account for this.
This way, the penny dropped very quickly for Sophie. She quickly became able to work out for herself the context of social situations and what she needed to do to gain and maintain the level of social interaction that she needed. After a few sessions, her support worker was able to gradually reduce her social outings with Sophie as Sophie had started to make new meaningful relationships with her own friends. This meant that her support worker could focus on other aspects of Sophie’s integration into the community to help move Sophie forward and help her implement her own personalised autism strategies.