Life on the Autism spectrum

Damian - Interview 03b

Male
Age at interview: 37
Age at diagnosis: 36

Brief outline: Damian was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome a year ago. He is well educated with a degree, Master's degree and a PGCE, and is now studying for a PhD. Damian lives with his son, 7, who has classic autism.

Background: Damian is a student. He is single and has one child, aged 7. Ethnic background/nationality: British

Audio & video

Damian started reading about Asperger syndrome because his partner thought their son might be on the spectrum. He thought some of the diagnostic criteria related to him, but it was reading autobiographical books written by people with autism that made him think he was autistic himself. He describes feeling upset when he read these accounts because of the way he had been treated at school when he was growing up, and because of the different labels that had been applied to him over the years. He also felt pleased because he realised he was not the only person who thought like he did. He was assessed and diagnosed as ‘high functioning’ through a process that involved interviews and questionnaires.
 
Damian thinks that a lot of the things he is very good at, such as maths, logic and spatial awareness, were not generally recognised when he was growing up and the emphasis was always on the things he couldn’t do. Despite leaving school with a few GCSEs, Damian has gone on to get a degree, Master’s degree and a PGCE. He is now studying for a PhD. He worked as a lecturer in a college of further education but was made redundant a few years ago. Damian finds employment difficult, partly because he has a problem with authority figures and his academic area is very specialised. In his view the problems with employment are largely due to the views others have of him.
 
Damian lives with his son, 7, who has classic autism. Damian feels this is a relationship that works and his son has ‘brought a lot of joy’ to his life. He also credits his mum for helping him get to where he is now. She remains supportive and helps him with the more mundane, organisational aspects of everyday life that he finds difficult.
 

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