New Forum Member saying 'Hi!'

Cloudwalker_3

New member
Hi there. My name is Michael Preston.

I came across NDSA via a Facebook advert (I think it was an ad, it might have been a post about an advert...).

I'm 56. During my childhood, I never got a formal and thorough diagnosis of Autism. I did get a formal diagnosis of dyslexia at St Thomas' Hospital in London (I was told that I was one of the first children to be officially diagnosed in the UK) but at the time a large chunk of the educational establishment disputed the very existence of this condition and my parents were told repeatedly that dyslexia was "a middle-class excuse for children who failed to apply themselves". As a result, despite my high IQ I was almost completely failed at school by the people who were supposed to be teaching me.

As an informed adult, I'm now aware that, in addition to autism, I also have dyscalculia, dyspraxia, and sensory processing disorder.

After I left school, I went to college, studied hard, and some years on gained a degree equivalent craft-based (City & Guilds) qualification in graphic design and printing. I now work as a Graphic Designer and Photographer in London, part-time for an NGO, and part-time freelance.

The funny thing is this:

When I was a child I really struggled with my disabilities, not helped by fools telling me I was stupid and that I wasn't trying and almost every opportunity, now that I'm an adult whilst there are still moments of tension as I navigate through life, I really view my autism now as a superpower.

My brain is unique and I think about stuff in a different way to lots of people, and I know that I'm never going to be a great mathematician, but I have a phenomenal (almost eidetic) memory for shapes, colours, and fonts and I wouldn't swap my brain for a 'normal' one (whatever the hell that means!) for anything now.

In terms of other stuff, I live with my partner in London and we have a 12-year-old son (with an autism diagnosis). I do various volunteering type stuff with the Woodcraft Folk and Crisis, and I love reading, movies (especially world cinema, and science fiction), mountain walking, and playing the greatest MMORPG out there, Eve Online - there's a short (3mins45sec) movie here if you want to check it out.
 
Last edited:

DaraSix16

New member
Hi Michael, good to see it's not just me making a longer intro on here - I was beginning to worry I was being weird!

I had a very similar experience as a child with my ADHD Diagnosis when I got it in the 90's. I was just a "Naughty child" who "Hadn't been disciplined enough" and "Just needed to focus" and also got told I was stupid when I struggled.

I also have a child who is on the path to an ASD Diagnosis - poor soul seems to be a carbon copy of me :oops:
 

Sonich

New member
Hi both of you!
Funnily enough I'm also 56 and in London. I studied graphics too, but went on to do other things. Being a girl I doubt anyone would ever have considered autism in my case, and I'm not dyslexic, so there was always little to pinpoint. I made superhuman efforts to disguise what I was experiencing, (and ended up with cfs, though not necessarily related). It's only now, that neurodiversity is so discussed, and I have kids with dyslexia and nonspecific learning difficulties, dyscalculia, and adhd that I'm starting to see myself what's been going on with me all this time. As I have c-ptsd from childhood, the tendency was always to assume that was the problem.
I'm now studying psychology, and find myself noticing more and more the links to neurodiversity, and wondering how I even go about getting diagnosed as an adult.
Glad I found the forum.
 

Sonich

New member
Sent too soon!
Dara I also feel a bit, damn, poor kids having to.go through what I have, although it's not quite the same. The world has come on a lot, and hopefully there is more support, not least from.us their parents.
 

DaraSix16

New member
Hi both of you!
Funnily enough I'm also 56 and in London. I studied graphics too, but went on to do other things. Being a girl I doubt anyone would ever have considered autism in my case, and I'm not dyslexic, so there was always little to pinpoint. I made superhuman efforts to disguise what I was experiencing, (and ended up with cfs, though not necessarily related). It's only now, that neurodiversity is so discussed, and I have kids with dyslexia and nonspecific learning difficulties, dyscalculia, and adhd that I'm starting to see myself what's been going on with me all this time. As I have c-ptsd from childhood, the tendency was always to assume that was the problem.
I'm now studying psychology, and find myself noticing more and more the links to neurodiversity, and wondering how I even go about getting diagnosed as an adult.
Glad I found the forum.
Visit your GP and discuss with them getting referred to the Local authorities Autism service for assessment - it took me ages to get around to doing and then I had a years wait before they'd see me but even without 3rd party insight to my childhood I was diagnosed as ASD. Certainly well worth doing IMO as there's suspecting and then there is knowing, if that makes sense - it's a validating feeling being diagnosed even if it is just a piece of paper essentially.

It is my mission as a parent to be as supportive and as understanding with my small human as possible and as fierce and perceptive about others who are around my child as I can be - my parents just believed teachers that I "had a problem with authority" which is kind of true, I had a problem with how disgustingly some of those in authority were treating me being closed doors but no way of verbalising it - this will not happen for my baby.

I am also from London - part time at least, not a graphics student though - I did Fashion!
 

Sonich

New member
Visit your GP and discuss with them getting referred to the Local authorities Autism service for assessment - it took me ages to get around to doing and then I had a years wait before they'd see me but even without 3rd party insight to my childhood I was diagnosed as ASD. Certainly well worth doing IMO as there's suspecting and then there is knowing, if that makes sense - it's a validating feeling being diagnosed even if it is just a piece of paper essentially.

It is my mission as a parent to be as supportive and as understanding with my small human as possible and as fierce and perceptive about others who are around my child as I can be - my parents just believed teachers that I "had a problem with authority" which is kind of true, I had a problem with how disgustingly some of those in authority were treating me being closed doors but no way of verbalising it - this will not happen for my baby.

I am also from London - part time at least, not a graphics student though - I did Fashion!
You sound like an amazing parent. Your insight and support will make all the difference. My daughter did fashion. And may well turn out to have autism too, the doc suggested adhd, but as she had no hyperactivity and can focus for hours, we hadn't considered any of this before. There's lots of other stuff which does apply. I'm studying psychology and things just keep jumping out at me that I hadn't understood before. Feels like a long road to diagnosis, but maybe once I'm finished studying I'll find some time to focus.
Do you still do fashion or arty stuff?
 

DaraSix16

New member
You sound like an amazing parent. Your insight and support will make all the difference. My daughter did fashion. And may well turn out to have autism too, the doc suggested adhd, but as she had no hyperactivity and can focus for hours, we hadn't considered any of this before. There's lots of other stuff which does apply. I'm studying psychology and things just keep jumping out at me that I hadn't understood before. Feels like a long road to diagnosis, but maybe once I'm finished studying I'll find some time to focus.
Do you still do fashion or arty stuff?
As with Autism those of us with ADHD learn to Mask even when it is to our detriment, well worth exploring I just recommend avoiding the medication route as it didn't play out well for myself and I feel that pretty much all of us ADHD folk aren't daft and we can learn to implement techniques and processes which help us navigate the world and ourselves in more positive and healthy ways!

Diagnosis is a very long road but it's worth the journey, I see so many people give up or just self-diagnose because they've seen memes/infographics on the internet and it's sad as they'll never truly know. I understand why more people in the US self-diag as that process is virtually unaffordable for most but in the UK the resources (for now) are accessible and should be used before they get taken away. In my opinion anyway.

I don't really create anymore, time, money and poor mental health have really beat the creative in me down - I still curate clothing pieces where possible but sadly at present I am not up to much other than trying to fix a series of messes in which my life has become quite, well, fkd but I have shed a lot of bad people. In short, not right now but I am building to get back to it!