According to everyone’s favourite website, google has told me today is the last day of Autism Awareness Week. Many of you probably saw my opinion on what this “celebration” has become as it is raising awareness for all the wrong reasons. Along my travels I have met many fellow autistic adults trying to find their own way in life independently just as I have been now for the past nine months.
Not all of those people have found success as there are barriers that make finding work and learning to care for themselves that don’t affect the nuerotypical population. What I have discovered is you give someone [autistic or not] the opportunity to grow and learn, great things can happen. Over the course of the last year, conversations have drifted to talking about employment on the autistic spectrum and how that issue can be solved and personally I think the answer is to give people a chance.
Now to be an egotistical maniac and twist this subject to shine its spotlight on me. At the grand old age of 24 I finally had the confidence to leave home for the first time and find my own way. I moved to Manchester to live with my girlfriend and our agreement was I needed to find part time work to support us for rent and general living. My past experiences with employment had been less than favourable but I agreed this needed to happen and part time allowed me to still continue Messy Miscreation.
I searched everyday for months without even getting a single interview and before I knew it I had already started working on my artist residency at The Horsfall and Christmas soon followed. I was half way through my first year here in Manchester and I hadn’t managed to find work. Over Christmas I decided to take a different approach and I was pointed towards a small business owner in the city centre who was also an autistic adult. I asked her for advice on finding work as she potentially could help give a few tips and how to move forward.
Fast forward four months and I’m now working at her business, Countess Ablaze where she is one of the Uk’s leading indie dyers of yarn. She took me on board as a studio assistant and has been teaching me tonnes about running a small business that I can use in my own work. Since working here my mental health has gotten a lot better and I feel way more secure than I ever have.
During the week I’m either dyeing yarn or I’m working on Messy Miscreation and the reason this is all possible is I was given a chance to prove myself. I have made mistakes along the way but I have also been able to include my own creative thinking into the business too and I’m thankful for that opportunity.
It’s because of individuals like my boss Lindsey that allow another autistic adults to build their skills and confidence that they really need. I’ve seen article after article of newspapers sharing the success stories of “insert autistic adult here” without ever branching on how they got to that position. The autistic community continues to push the importance of being listened to and not spoken for.
I would normally have posted a bunch of blogs this week for awareness but I think its become so saturated it gets lost. I see angry tweets demanding that the world around them needs to change specifically to their needs and that doesn’t help anyone in this community. The world won’t change but we can make simple changes to better our own lives. All we need is an opportunity and not to be turned down before we get a chance to shine. I truly believe that and I want to start highlighting the amazing people I meet along my journey and the awesome things they do.
If you want to spread awareness you are more than welcome to, just please consider the community you are representing as it affects us all. There are brilliant and creative individuals bringing awareness through comics, artwork, baking and using the businesses they created all to highlight autism. We have come a far way but we need to understand there is a long way to go.
In just few months I will be moving out of this house into a flat for just me and my partner. This means that Messy Miscreation might be a little less busy for the time being but I’m in a stronger place than I have ever been. I have a long way to go but I know its possible now, I’ve proven that to myself. For the time being keep an eye over on my instagram for the latest mess I’m making to keep up to date.
and you can support me and my future projects by visiting the online store:
To finish it off go and visit Countess Ablaze’s instagram to find out whats happening over in the city centre: