North West Autism Newsletter
Autism – What it means to me
by Kelly Luttrell Alexandra Good
What exactly does it mean to be on the spectrum? Some people think its brain disease, some say it means people act weird, while others say it means their dumb, I disagree. Being on the spectrum means that a person is different, what is easy for most people is difficult for us, and what other people find difficult is easy for us, it’s like your trying to put a disc made for the Xbox in a cd player, just because it doesn’t work on the system doesn’t mean its broken. Now I believe that the reason people call it a spectrum is because it affects everyone differently, (again it’s not a disease) some people have difficulty learning and can’t comprehend certain things, while others have difficulty communicating, some are incapable of sitting still, can’t focus, only care about one thing, bad memory, getting emotionally attached to mundane objects, the list goes on and on. It all affects people differently, for instance, I couldn’t read until I was in the 3rd grade, and had a very difficult time talking to people, the way I got over this was by going to this place called Communication Works where they teach people how to communicate with people, that is what helped me. Of course, this doesn’t work for everyone, that’s just my experience. The best way to help people on the spectrum is to probably get an outside opinion from an expert, or by going to a place that teaches them the thing they struggle with, cause whatever it is they probably won’t teach it at school. I like being on the spectrum, but that’s just me!
The most important things I can say to people, is that not everyone on the spectrum acts the same, we are very different and diverse people, and just because some people on the spectrum need medication doesn’t mean we all do, we are very diverse and different, we are not the same, and we struggle to get by. Please if you think someone may be on the spectrum get them assessed, trust me, the more you know the better it gets.
by Tori McNeill
Mencap is a Uk charity for people with a learning disability
I became involved with Mencap while I was doing the transition course at the North West Regional college. They helped me find work experience on a Friday. I tried working at the stables and then in a vets. While at the vets I realised I enjoyed doing office work and eventually got work experience in Habinteg Housing Association. I really enjoyed it doing various tasks such as filing, photocopying, answering the phones and sorting out the post. Since leaving the Tech, Mencap continue to help me and I have recently started work experience in the Rate Office in Derry City and Strabane District Council. They have also helped me apply for a paid job within the Council but due to COVID 19 that has been put on hold for the moment. I enjoy my work experience and I am thankful to my employment officer for helping me!
Learning Disability Pride
by Lee Snodgrass
A key event I have attended is Learning Disability Pride, which is a parade that represents all walks of life from the disabled community along with other charities and organisations right across Northern Ireland. It’s run every two years and I attended the last one in Carrickfergus in June 2019 with Mencap. They rotate it in different towns.
It was a scorcher of a day! People lined the streets to clap, even the policemen who were there!
It’s about celebrating pride, the rights and inclusion of the disabled community but it’s also for every person in the community –not just learning disability, Down syndrome and mental health….. all folk everywhere. I just missed the finale, which was Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol but I will be there at the next event and will stay to the end!
I hope our group from North West Spectrum will attend the next one!
Click on the Learning Disability Pride website for more information