Life on the Autism spectrum

Simon - Interview 16b

Male
Age at interview: 22
Age at diagnosis: 5

Brief outline: Simon, aged 22 was diagnosed with autism when he was 5 years old. He has developed his own strategies to cope during social situations. Simon is interested in animals and aims to find employment in this area. Simon does talks on autism to help people to understand.

Background: Simon is qualified in animal management and does voluntary work. Ethnic background/nationality: White British

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Simon, aged 22 was diagnosed with autism when he was 5 years old. Simon is currently living with his parents and does not wish to move out although he can envisage living with his girlfriend in the future. He describes his parents as “absolutely brilliant” as they have supported and encouraged him in his ambitions, which have included learning to drive. 
 
Simon feels there are both positive and negative aspects to having autism. He describes autism as having “a strange sort of social system” which means he has difficulty in making friends, trusting people and understanding and expressing emotions. He has developed strategies to help him manage social situations, but he sometimes feels these strategies are over-complicated. Simon explains how he likes to negotiate his own way of doing things and so doesn’t feel he particularly needs extra help though he feels such help may be useful for others with autism. Simon is interested in animals, video games, playing pool, watching sport and creating comics. He feels his tendency to obsess has helped him to focus on and succeed in his interests.
 
Simon used to volunteer at an animal rescue centre until he had to stop due to depression. He would like to work with animals in the future. He currently gives talks about autism for parents of children with autism and professionals working with autistic people. He finds searching for paid employment frustrating and feels that people in the job centre misunderstand his condition. He feels this makes it particularly difficult for people with autism to find employment or claim their benefits.
 

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