Eight years ago I was faced with the nightmare that every autistic person dreads – leaving school.
The days of only having to turn up where everything else is decided by someone else was rapidly coming to end.
The thought of having to somehow find a job, or more realistically claim benefits and sit around being more and more depressed by the day was only becoming more of a reality that I pushed to the back of my mind.
Procrastinating wasn’t going to help, but as nobody had the answers I was looking for it was the only option I was left with.
Before I knew it the fateful day came and went without much ado.
I remember sitting in the car on the way home looking at the lampposts fly past and thinking “well this is my life done”.
My brain was just full of little bubbles of information, floating around and bumping into each other, and trying to think about this only made it worse.
Thinking of anything would just burst the whole lot at once, which as you can imagine made finding a solution to any of the problems impossible.
As I’ve got older, I’ve learnt to just accept many of the problems and deal with the ones that I can do something about, as there’s no point in worrying about things you can’t do anything about.
However, in 2010 and aged 18 this just simply wasn’t possible.
Today I volunteer for the National Autistic Society local Dartford and Gravesham Branch, local NAS run school Helen Allison and am an autism advocate on a local steering group for Autism; giving advice to local professionals.
It has been a gradual increase in involvement for me and it helps that I am surrounded by people with an understanding of autism.
With the local support groups I help give advice to parents with children with autism, having been there myself and hope to continue to do this to make a position be change for other children and adults on the spectrum.
Matt is the Social Media and Web Officer for the local NAS Branch that he helped establish. Despite the Branch being less than one year old it has been awarded the status of Top 5 NAS Branches in the country. Matt gives talks on autism perspective for the Multi Agency Autism Group.