Life on the Autism spectrum

Alex - Interview 04b

Female
Age at interview: 28
Age at diagnosis: 3

Brief outline: Alex was diagnosed with classic autism aged three years old. She lives independently in an adapted house, with some care assistance. A few years ago she was injured in a road accident and, as a result, now has epilepsy.

Background: Alex is unemployed and single. Ethnic background/nationality: British

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Alex was diagnosed with classic autism when she was three years old and was non verbal until she was over five. She was very well supported throughout school and achieved good GCSE’s and A Levels. The transition to adult services has been problematic, however, and Alex has been caught in the gap between learning disability services and mental health services. Her IQ has been measured at 70 which is too high for her to be supported by learning difficulty services but she has found that mental health services do not have much understanding of autism.
 
While Alex functions very well in some areas, like sequencing, she has very poor living skills and daily functioning because she finds processing instructions difficult, has sensory processing disorder, so is unable to cross roads safely and an unrealistic sense of danger. These difficulties make everyday life problematic for Alex who attends a day centre four days a week and has a PA (through Direct Payments) for a few hours a week. Alex has just received support from an on call care company who she can call on for support 24/7.
 
Alex lives independently in an adapted house rented from a housing association. She has a care plan that specifies the limits to what she can do without support. She is not supposed to go further than her corner shop without someone with her, for example, as she is in danger of being run over. She was badly injured in a road accident a few years ago and, as a result, now has epilepsy. She is also not supposed to answer the door after 9pm in the evening. Alex is happy living on her own, though it has taken her quite a while to get used to it. When she first moved in, she didn’t eat for 13 days as it didn’t cross her mind. Although careworkers called in to check on her, they failed to ask her if she was eating. Alex feels she now has a very good care package now, though she sometimes feels constrained by the limits imposed on her. 

She has online friends she has met through an autism forum and enjoys art, watching DVDs, playing on the computer and walking her dog. Alex writes a blog called 'Autism through my eyes'.

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