10 things I thought I would never achieve
Written on 15th Sep 2014 by Alex Lowery
I have faced a lot of difficulties in my life. Here are things I have succeeded in doing that I thought would be impossible.
1. A job – I am self employed and at one time I thought I would never get a job. Only 15% of adults on the autistic spectrum are in full time paid employment. Here are some difficulties that I face, and some others on the spectrum may face as well.
2. Being a best man – I was a best man for my brother two years ago. This was something I always hoped to do but thought I wouldn’t succeed. I remember years ago saying I’d like to be Ben’s best man if he got married, but in reality, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to. I thought I wouldn’t be able to speak in front of that many people, ever! But how wrong was I…. I do it for a living now! Even when I was first asked to be his Best Man, I was honored and willing to do it, but worried that I wouldn’t be able to at the same time. My brother said it meant so much for me to do this and he had thought it would not be possible for a lot of his life. I think this made up a little bit for me never wanting to play football with him.
3. Key skills Level 2 in English – I know this might not seem like much to you but I struggled with English and writing through a lot of my life. I still find it hard to read and take in the information. I started attending a key skills workshop about three years ago and have just completed my level 2. This makes me feel really happy and shows that hard work pays off.
4. Getting awards – I never thought I would be able to get an award but I have been given three awards. The first was ‘Student of the Year’ when I was studying a horse care course with the Riding for the Disabled. I got the Grand Prior Award with St.John’s Ambulance and the other award was an ‘Outstanding Personal Achievement in the Community Award’.
5. Being on the television – I was able to raise awareness of ‘stimming’ and autism on the ITV Wales news which was something I never thought would happen. You can see the film here. I was also able to act in another film with Fixers that is aimed at 13 to 18 year old’s which again helps to explain why I ‘stim’.
6. Public speaking – I thought that I would be too scared to do public speaking. I also thought no-one would really be interested in asking me to speak. I actually remember when I was about 15 or 16, and heard about somebody with autism who was doing speeches, I actually thought, “There’s no way, I’d ever be able to do that!” But I was wrong. It was only a year or two later when I did my first speech. People often tell me, “There’s no way I could speak in front of large audiences like you do!” And to these people, I say, “I thought the same at one point. When you get your mind to it, you never know what you may be capable of.” When I was little, there’s no way my parents would have had any idea that I’d be doing speeches about autism. They probably wouldn’t have even dreamed I would! I’m not showing off hear… I’m trying to say that if you’re autistic or a parent of an autistic child, or someone with a disability, or even just a normal person, never say never….
7. Write a book – I started writing my book in September 2010, when I was late 16 but thought I would never finish it. My parents, and those who were helping me with the book were pretty sure I would. However, I thought it’d be one of these things that would seem like a good idea at the time, but we would just forget about it, and it wouldn’t even get finished, let alone published! It has taken four years but now my book has been sent to the printers. The cover is deigned, and the story goes even further into my life than when I started writing it.
8. Life skills – I can only get a few bus routes that I have learnt but this means so much to me. I have learnt how to use the phone which was a big phobia for me. Even in the house, I’d only answer the phone if I had to! I have learnt a lot of new skills but I hope to keep on getting more skills so that one day I can live independently.
9. Riding a bike – I learnt to ride a bike when I was 14. I always found it hard to get my balance but when I suceeded it felt fantastic!
10. Getting a girlfriend – Through all the years of my life, I honestly thought I would never get a girlfriend and would be single for the rest of my life…. OK…. Fine! I admit it, I’m still single, but you know what??? I’m actually cool with that. I don’t feel like I really want a relationship anytime soon, which seems to baffle some people. But honestly, I don’t think I’m ready…
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