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Autism Awareness Week 2021: Ben’s Blog

Hello, hope you are all doing well!

This week is Autism Awareness Week and I wanted to talk about my experiences as someone with autism, and as someone who has been working with people in a service, about what the last year has been like.

I don’t have to tell you about the tough challenges we have all faced in the last year, with COVID-19 affecting every aspect of our lives in some way. I have been lucky that I live with my wife, so I must be honest here when I say that mainly I have been ok during the last year, due to being able to talk to her about it. This has really helped my mental health and kept me from feeling overwhelmed.

The biggest problem for me has been traveling on public transport. Some people haven’t been wearing their masks properly or at all, and while some people are exempt from having to do this for good reason, it has been stressful for me to try to keep a safe distance from people in public transport. 

For the people that I support, it has been a long year and they are anxious to go back to some kind of normal. With my life experience of being autistic I can understand the worries that the people we support might be going through.

When I was younger, I hated my day getting changed due to other people’s plans. Even though now it doesn’t faze me, it can still really make many autistic people unhappy and stressed if the things that they like doing are suddenly stopped or changed for some reason. The lack of things to do and places to go has been a change to their routine and most have found this hard to understand.

With all the rumours in the media they are understandably confused about what the future holds. I am hoping that as restrictions ease and it becomes safe for them to do so, attending more social activities will be of some help to them, such as the social group I will be helping with, which is open to anyone we support in Wandsworth and Lambeth!