Newcastle Mela 2021

Good morningApologies for not blogging in a while. I’ve had a few things going on both in and out of work so haven’t had the time to do a post in ages. Ironically I have been doing a lot in my main job to promote E&D suppose I just used all my energy on that. Still I’ve got my writing bug back today so let’s hope it lasts!!!The reason for today’s blog is that yesterday I attended Newcastle mela

The Mela is a free festival which takes place each year on August bank holiday weekend in Newcastle. It’s open to anyone who wants to learn more about different cultures, be entertained and meet new people as well as enjoy different music, art and food festival takes place yearly and is based around Pakistani, Indian and South Asian cultures. This is actually the second time I’ve attended https://punton9.wordpress.com/2019/08/25/newcastle-mela-2019/
As the event couldn’t take place last year it was wonderful it was able to go ahead this year. There is always something to see. There are dozens of stalls selling food clothing adverting local services. There is music throughout the event. It’s simply incredible. So many people. Events like this make you think it’s so easy to say you respect other cultures but you realise how little you know about them at events like this. I had never heard of the Mela till a couple of years ago. Many people I know have no idea what it is. Considering it’s been running for 24 years I don’t know how we missed it. I’ve realised something which I’ve been embarrassed to admit I knew nothing about other culture before I started work I’ve always been respectful and tried to be kind but I knew very little on how people life’s could vary so much. It’s humbling. We’re all still learning. This is why these events are so important.I had a wonderful time yesterday promoting our trust. I was there representing our trusts apprenticeship programme as well as the equality ally it was nice to have a chance to engage with so many people. I’ve missed that the last year. It was an honour to be there. We had many visitors. The kids in particular loved our free wristband!! Genuinely a lot of good people came and talked to us. I urge you as a person to take time to learn more about other cultures. It doesn’t have to be a big thing just talk to people try something new don’t make assumptions. There were of course many other stalls and events . Of note were stalls from Unison the army cadets and the fire service. Music started at 3pm the this was opened by the Lord Mayor of Newcastle Habib Rahman the first BAME Mayor of the city. He spoke passionately about equality for all and how racism cannot be tolerated.

.I’d like to end this post by thanking Rexie Akwei and Patrick Price from my trust for making sure we were there this year. Thank you 

Patrick Price chair of the my trusts LGBT network
Carla and Clare from midwifery NSECH offered some medical tips
Myself, Rexie the inclusion lead for our trust . Patrick chair of the LGBT Network in our trust. Also On-Ki a hard working staff member and member of the BAME staff Network
The wonderful unison
The Lord Mayor of Newcastle

Reflections on Autism Pride Day

Good morning Hope your all well. I’m looking forward myself too spending Sunday with my dad for Father’s Day. I hope you have a good weekend whoever you are.
Today June 18th is Autism Pride day. It’s a day for those on the spectrum to celebrate our autism and how it makes us who we are.https://www.awarenessdays.com/awareness-days-calendar/autistic-pride-day-2021/
Many people still even now have the wrong idea about autism. People don’t even do this maliciously on purpose a lot of the time often people just like to form their own opinions on based on someone they know or a half truth. If you want to read more about how people on the spectrum think a colleague of mine recently recommended the below websiteidentityfirstautistic.org

It’s a great resource to challenge perceptions. There are also some truly inspiring people on there. So it’s well worth checking out whether your on the spectrum or not. I’m on the Spectrum and it taught me loads.

Regarding my attitude to my own autism.I can genuinely say that I am now comfortable expressing my autism. Those who know me may say “you always have been” The desire to mask and hide autism is something many people experience. I’ve never really masked my autism, but I did have misguided reasoning in the past, let me explain. I remember a few points in my life realising I was a little unique and trying to be what others wanted. One example of this is when I tried to play football at school at break I went along a few days and hated every second. In truth as a child and young adult even now I often just wanted to do my own thing, have some peace. I still wanted friends though so it was a catch 22. It’s not that I don’t like people I do but I also need headspace from time to time. So it made hard making friends as kid hard. My interests were often very set I had a friends when I was younger a former neighbour we used to play together and talk about books we both liked. We moved but our mums kept in touch. Sadly we didn’t go to the same schoo so we grew apart.One sad moment was when I realised my interests hadn’t changed and theirs had when I brought up the books we both used to like. It’s always been a big fear. The feeling of being left behind. I like my routine but yet I want to grow as a person and be more  independent.The older you get the more aware you are. I was slower to grow up emotionally. I didn’t really want to stop being a kid and liking what I did. Of course my mistake was thinking I couldn’t still enjoy these things and be social. For years I wasn’t even bothered about being social, I wasn’t unfriendly but I liked my routine.Things started changing when I finally left college. I was in a college for people on the spectrum called ESPA for three years. I then did a year at my local college which also had an autism unit. So I had in a way a comfortable place to transition from school to adulthood. Suddenly I was finished all this free time. Now what was I supposed to do?
So when I was younger in my twenties I tried very hard and I’m ashamed to say this “be normal” Get a job, save money, make friends. Yeah cause life is that simple.I suppose I was being a bit naiveI didn’t mask as such but I didn’t mention my autism much in my early twenties.Perhaps it’d because as my social skills grew I didn’t want it to define me? I can’t even believe I thought that. I can no more not be autistic as I could jump to the moon!! I think I was worried about people treating me differently or making assumptions.You know what I feel now?Who cares what proper think!!!If someone prejudged you based on anything that is their problem not yoursTake my advice never try to hide who you are. Never feel who you is wrong.When I was a young child there were some medical people that weren’t sure if I would ever have the capability to function without support. Well they were wrong. My family helped me. They never stopped supporting me. I was lucky so many people on the spectrum just need a bit more understanding.I’ve done so much people never thought I could.I write poetry I’ve ran the GNRI travel independently (ok that may seem out of place but I didn’t till 20 so I’m counting it)All of this is why I take pride in my autism without it I would not be me
I would like to finish with a poemThank you all for reading
A poem for Autism Pride dayUnique:I am Autistic I’m not a statistic I am not a way for you  to score a point I am not a novelty Don’t ask me constantly if I understand Don’t assume what I know or what I’ll be able to doGet to know me and you’ll seeLet me tell YOU about meI am imaginative. Bold and kind I always get the last word (ok that might be just in my mind)I am creativeI see things a different wayThat doesn’t mean I don’t deserve a sayWe’re all people at the end of the day 
#autisticpride

My thoughts on Autism Burnout

Good afternoon

Tomorrow the 18th June is Autism Pride Day. A day for those on the spectrum to celebrate their individuality and highlight why they’re proud to be on the spectrum. I will be doing a post tomorrow too.

Today though I’d like to share my thoughts on ‘autism burnout’. Something which affects a lot of people on the spectrum and many people don’t even know about!!!

What is it?

Autism burnout is something that is very hard to explain to neurotypical people.                                  Autism Burnoutwhat happens when someone on the spectrum is pushed too far and not shown enough support and care. It can happen for a number of reasons; people trying to mask their autism and behave as they feel others want them too or when people feel they are being pushed too much in the wrong direction.

Who does it affect?

A common myth is that it doesn’t happen to people who have high functioning autism

This is a dangerous myth. Autism burnout can happen to anyone on the spectrum. 

What brings it on?

Everyone on the spectrum has their own personal triggers and it’s hard to define a cause as they are often different for each person. Recognising what your own triggers are and making people aware can be hard. It’s worth it though. I speak from experience. 

My main trigger is unexpected changes to my routine, lots of emails at once, as well as background noise.

Also one of my trigger is around prioritising feeling like things NEED to be done and I don’t have time. It doesn’t always trigger me. It depends on how I’ve slept, what my day is like whether I’m busy or not. If I’m having a bad day it’s like having an extra weight dropped on me. The smallest things can change my mood. Which I’ll elaborate on further later.

How does it affect me?

When it happens to me its manifests itself in increased stress levels, difficulty focusing on things and trouble prioritising and putting things into perspective. Such as how urgent is what I’m doing really. Is it worth the stress I feel?

It also makes me feel increasingly restless like I need to be getout the situation.

It makes doing things in general feel harder like I’m in quicksand. This isn’t just a work thing this can happen to me for a myriad of reasons and socially too. Its very hard to get out of this thought pattern when it starts.

How do I deal with burnout?

I take regular comfort breaks. I take five minutes to calmmyself. Often, I think people worry about this. I’ve certainly said I don’t have time for a break. It worth it, you feel calmer.

I also try to rationalise the worry and break it down into what it is and what could realistically go wrong. This doesn’t always work. For me burnout is an emotional reaction so thinking logically doesn’t always stop them for me. It does help though. If you can try to do this before it builds up.Which is why its important to recognise your own triggers.

How eating healthily and sleeping well benefits me:

I would like state that this one only is my experience. I’m aware that Autism Burnout is a serious issue I would not wish to suggest this would work for everyone but it does help me personally

Eat healthily and sleep well. It sounds daft but I do genuinely find this helps me. Let me explain whilst this won’t stop me having a meltdown or being stressed it does make me feel better in terms of energy levels. I eat a lot of low energy foods at times. When my energy is low I’m less likely to take unexpected news/stresses well. If I have more energy I have a better chance of having more self -control. 

Some people may disagree but I do genuinely feel better sleep and eat well. Not that I can’t still get stressed of course but I have more energy to deal with it.

For example, recently I stayed up late over the bank holiday weekend. Sunday I felt very stressed everything was hard. So I had an earlier night. Monday I was a different man calmer rested able to prioritise. Don’t get me wrong ‘autism burnout’ is a lot more complex than this; it happens over time but taking care of myself makes it easier for me to at the very least manage the likelihood.

Why its important to talk about Autism Burnout?

Be upfront about it: I cannot emphasize enough the importance of talking to your manager of your family, friends, anyone who can help you or support you when you suffer from meltdown or stress related to burnout. I think people are often worried to talk about it. Don’t be. Trying to ignore it won’t work. Trust me I know. It may go away for a bit when you leave the situation like for a weekend or day off. That is only short term. If something is regularly making you feel exhausted there are ways you can manage it.

Talk to people tell them how you feel. Try and see if you can do things in a different way. This is what I did with my manager in the past. It really helped me a lot. I know this might not be an easy discussion but its worth doing. Look at it this way a slightly awkward discussion will in the long run reduce your stress on a daily basis.

You can read more about autism burn out here https://www.autism.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/topics/mental-health/autistic-fatigue .  For more information and s

My recent cinema trip

Good afternoon
It’s been a while hasn’t it remember when I used to post weekly? Anyway to distract you from my disorganisation let’s get straight into itTonight post has a guest star my lovely mam. Recently I went to the cinema now a year ago that would have been a rather normal experience. After a year of closure though it seemed very excitingI’ve always loved the cinema. As a kid I loved going and entering a whole new world. My parents often took me. They knew it was something I enjoyed and it actually engaged me. It got me to imagine a whole other world and I would often talk at length about the movie (not always after it which made me popular) It was great for me. It could be a little triggering at times, the crowds going in and out. Some films as well triggered me as they made me process things I didn’t like. For example I got very distressed watching James and the Giant Peach because of how he was treated cruelly at the start. Also I recall getting very annoyed at Good Burger which stared the actors fromKeenan and Kel. Was it funny yes? Did I enjoy it yes. I was annoyed because they were playing different character and I was told it was a Kenan and Kel movie. Oh and don’t get me started on Pinocchio for triggering me. Go ahead show your kids the horrifying scene where kids are turned into donkey and locked in cages. If that DOESN’T trigger you then you have no soul. They’re never saved in the Disney version.So here Disnety wholesome fun!! https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XuPneCrPRM4These of course were her exceptions. Joking aside it was a good experience for. Me it got me out of the house. It made me ask questions and I enjoyed it.I still remember seeing films like Shrek and Mulan. Dennis the menace I loved thatSo I loved the cinema   Sadly this had two drawbacks. One not realising it was expensive or things cost money I wanted to go every weekend. “Dad when are we going to the cinema was my standard question each weekend. It took a lot of time before I realised it was something we had to do every weekend. Trouble was I expected it. My brain associated weekend with cinema trips. The second issue is one I only just managed to curb. The snacks. As you know from my previous blogs I’ve had issues with my food intake. I love having snacks at the cinema. Even now. I wish I could say I outgrew this honestly I haven’t.I love pick and mix, popcorn. Do I need it no? But I still want it. It’s just one of those things I need to use self control over. I’m not saying never. Just not every time.Anyway on to the main anecdote and the arrival of tonight’s co-star:My mam gets about six free cinema tickets a years as an added bonus from her bank for being I don’t know a loyal customer? Memo to self find out. Anyway cinemas for obvious reasons were shut until very recently so we thought it would be a well deserved treat.
We went to see My New York Year on May 22nd. Great movie. It’s about an inspiring writer who has to answer J Salinger fan mail and has trouble with the standard replies. It’s a coming of age story with a lot of drama. Actually inspired me. Anyway we had such a good time to my surprise mam suggested seeing another film on the Sunday . The tickets had to be used by May 31st and can’t be extended so we thought why not? There was only one other film we fancied and it was a one night only prerelease screening. So we go to the cinema a second night. Even though I’m an adult and I can do what I want it feels very I don’t know not naughty maybe indulgent? By that way side note I only tookWater to each films so I’m up in points for self control.
So we go and the lights go off. The automatic message tells us to switch off our phones. Then the screen goes dark. We look stout and are told they are trying to fix it. We wait and after 10 minutes are pretty much resigned to going home. However the guy comes back with great news!!! We get a free ticket for any future film and a free snack voucher. You’d think we would be annoyed but it was actually pretty funny. The man we spoke to was so nice and apologetic about it as well. I try as a rule to be nice to others. I hate people getting mad at people just doing their job.We had to admit it was funny that  we had  came tonight because we couldn’t replace our tickets and left with replacement tickets. So on the whole not the worst night.Gave me a good story at least 

Have a good afternoon.

Staff Network Day

Good morning
Hope your all well I’m ok

Today Wednesday the 12th May is the UK’a National Day for Staff Networks.
See the below page for more data and links to downloadble resources 
https://www.nationaldayforstaffnetworks.co.uk/celebrate-the-day
The theme is Togetherness.Which is in my opion perfect more on that later though.What is a staff Network?I embarrassed to admit that until a few years ago I had not even heard of themThere are many misconceptions:1:That they’re a place to complain and hound HR (I hate this as it trivialises people needs)2:That they do nothing and take up time3: Worst of all that staff Network are not neededStaff Network are a vital toolI myself have found so much comfort in support in the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) group our trust runs. I’m not a naturally confident person. Finding a work life balance and gaging behaviour was a hard adjustment for meI’m still adjusting (check my past blogs)Often you feel like only you have issues adapting and may think “Why is this so hard for me” My Network lets me know I’m not alone. We’re in it together.But I still haven’t answered the question have I? What is a staff Network🧐

If you don’t know what a Staff Network is it’s a  group within a organisation that is ran by and for a particular group of people with shared goals. The aims of staff network groups are to give a voice and offer support wherever its needed. Most importantly the groups work to improve on Equality and raise awareness wherever they can. 
My name is Ross Punton I am a member and current chair of the ASD staff Network group within my workplace. In my role I try to offer as much support as I can and work towards a continuing goal of raising Awareness and Acceptance of Autism and the spectrum.
I may be the chair of the ASD group but all the Network groups are important. People can hold so many misconceptions about people and group. Often they don’t even know they have them!! That is why it’s important we all support each other whenever we can.
That we strive too help our colleagues learn. To build awareness and acceptance and make things better wherever we can.
I’m proud to work for an organisation which has staff networks. I hope to see increase their scope as time goes on.
The theme of Staff Network day is togetherness. So it should be, we are not alone.
It’s only by working together we can build change 
Thank you for reading 

#Togetherness

Last day of Autism Awareness month reflections

Good evening. Today was the last day of Autism Awareness month. I’ve done my best to promote this both in and out of work. I won’t say to much about what my workplace did as this is a personal blog but to those who were involved and helped to promote this to raise awareness and acceptance of autism thank you. I posted a lot on my Facebook and Twitter. For those who do work in the same organisation as me a lot was posted on our private Facebook group. Search #autismawareness if you want to learn more The main thing I did was at the start of the month I did the National Autistic Society’s super 7 challenge. I did 7 runs over 7 days Thank you to everyone who supported me. With your help we raised over £300 to be used for good causes. Uhttps://punton9.wordpress.com/2021/04/04/end-of-world-autism-awareness-week-and-my-super-7-challenge/
I’ve shared a lot of figures and percentage this month. I’d like to just speak from the heart for a moment(cliched phrase I know still it fits) I am pleased as someone with high functioning autism to see how much things have improved. More and more people are aware of Autism and Asperger’s syndrome. Schools and colleges are now offering support and help where needed. Also in recent years more and more well known people have been open with their own diagnosis. Still we have a lot of work to do before things are perfect. Many people support autism but many still do not understand it. Even though they support it they have a limited view. It may be that they know one person on the spectrum or they may be confused as to exactly what autism is. Often these people are very kind. Actually it’s not people like this that are an issue. Many of them are keen to learn and take steps to better understand and support those they know/work with/teach whatever their relationship may be. I’ve had lots of positive conversations where people have said they learned something more about autism and saw it in a new light. The problem I have is when people refuse to adjust their views. There are some people who when they have a fixed idea of something they won’t be told otherwise. I’ve met people who have been unable to accept that not everyone on the spectrum behaves the same way or has the same needs. I have genuinely heard people make comparisons things saying things like you should like this or find this easy as someone else they know on the spectrum does. This attitude makes me sad. 

“I am not a typical autistic person – because there isn’t a typical autistic person.”

Chris Packham a known ambassador for the National Autistic Society said that. I couldn’t put it better myself.  We are all individuals we all have our own likes and dislike and personal interests. As long as people are still holding misconceptions we still need to raise awareness.
Thank you all for reading.Right that was a very serious post. It’s Friday now. Stop reading this and enjoy your weekend. 😊

A little observation about my attitude to money

Good evening. Hope you’ve all had a nice week. Mine was good work was a bit busy but on the whole I got a lot done. I did a couple of times fall into the trap of not switching off after work, which I have mentioned in past posts. This weekend though I kept busy. Met some friends for a catch up yesterday. Went out for a jog today and helped with some house work. So on the whole not a bad week.During the housework part today I had a chat with my mam about buying a desk for my room. I’ve been home working a lot recently as have most people and have been using the dining room table. This is not always ideal as the living room has the tv and a comfy settee in it. Need I say more? Also when we’re both home I can’t help but feel like I’ve taken over. Especially when I need to use Microsoft teams for meeting.Now recently I’ve started saving a little bit of money again. Some of the furniture in my room has seen better days. My cabinet is a bit faded and always seems to pick up dust immediately after being dusted. I also have a leather box used for keeping shoes and as a seat which is really worn and tatty looking.So getting a new desk is not only possible but practical. My initial reaction was to say “I was hoping to keep the money in my savings for a bit”I remember years ago when I first got my job being so excited. Finally all the books dvds, etc things I wanted. I could get.  It was suggested one weekend by my mother that a lot of my clothes which were faded could do with replacing. My face must not have looked happy. We had a long chat I said they were fine. We looked at them and I finally conceded “Some” of my clothes were off. I won the battle over a few t shirts though. They were good mam’s aren’t always right. Why this reluctance? It’s simple. I seem to have an aversion to using large portions of my money on practical things I need. I hate clothes shopping. I always put off upgrading my phone because of having to get a new contract. To me these things are a necessary evil. I don’t mind spending money. In fact I can at times be too generous on birthdays and things like that. I seem to hate using large sums for practical things at times though. Now I’m aware this is not a good thing. This was my reaction to the chair. I wanted to keep the money in my savings for.. What I don’t know. That is the point. Yes it’s good to build savings and a rainy day fund. What is the point though if you deny yourself when you actually need something.A desk would make my life easier. A lot easier. My room needs new furniture anyway. Plus and I’m not proud of this I’ve used my savings before. I trying to build better financial habits now. In the past I’ve built savings and dipped into them when I was short. So I was fine with taking £40 for fun money but don’t want to spend money now for something. Practical? Something that will serve a real purpose. Stupid I know.Thinking about it I decided I will look into getting a desk. I’m trying to be more mature.My issue is a mental block. I want to grow better financial skills. Not using all your spare money as fun money is good. Being adverse to using it when needed as it doesn’t give instant satisfaction and is maybe less fun. That is the the attitude I’m working on.
Thanks for reading. Not sure if this post really has a point. I got a few things off my mind though. Enjoy your evening.

End of world Autism Awareness week and my super 7 challenge

This week as you will know was world Autism Awareness week. Part of Autism Awareness month. This Friday was also autism awareness day. I have been doing my best to be active this week. Those of you who follow me on social media will have seen my posts on Facebook and Twitter.

Search the below hashtags if you want to see what was shared not just by me but around the world.

#AutismAwarenessWeek

#AutismAwarenessWeek2021

The main thing I did for Autism Awareness week was take part in the National Autistic Society’s super 7 challenge. They asked that people do 7 activities on the same theme and share throughout the week. The suggestion ranged from exercise to music, to online gaming. I debated for a bit what to do. Exercise seemed the logical choice. I run regularly and with the good Friday and rule of six allowing me to run with others it seemed practical. I did worry that I wasn’t being ambitious enough though. I do also as many of you know write poetry. I have three poems around my autism. I thought of writing 7 new poems but wasn’t sure I could produce something good enough for every day. I didn’t want to write something that felt forced. So running it was. Well I did it today was  Day 7 run 7 of my super 7 challenge for world Autism Awareness week. I did over 20 miles in total this week. It’s been interesting. I uploaded a video every day to map my progress. These video….the first one I took about 10 minutes. For a 2 min video. Take after take. Do I look ok. Am I saying enough positive. As I talking enough about why I’m doing it. After Monday I relaxed into them a bit. It says something about my autism that on my first day thus week I made the video harder than the run 😂 It stupid I’ve done loads of video for various thing and I don’t think I’ve ever liked my first take. Despite my brain I did it. I did a run every day. It was good that I was able to run with others again this week it really helped. Thank you to everyone from running club who supported me this week.

Thank you as well to everyone who’s supported me and more importantly the National Autistic Society this week. We have raised just under £300 for the National Autistic Society.Your generosity is helping to raise awareness https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ross-punton2

Thank you as well to everyone else who got involved in promoting Autism Awareness week. Nothing is to small a contribution. Thank you to everyone who blogged, made a video, fundraised. Who shared information. Your hard work is appreciated. Thank you as well to all those who took the time to read about Autism Awareness week. You taking the time to learn and try to understand is the most important thing of all. If someone who already supports and knows about Autism reads and supports what we do that’s wonderful if someone who knows nothing about Autism even starts thinking about it well then we’ve achieved something. This week is Autism Awareness week but what we want people not only to be aware of Autism but to understand and accept it. I believe there is still lots of work to be done to raise Awareness and Acceptance of Autism and those on the spectrum and how we think and live. Some people will tell you it’s not a issue anymore. I have seen many changes in my own lifetime. Many employers are more aware off a need to be more inclusive. Schools have also massively improved. I would be amiss to say no progress has been made. Whilst it’s true we have came a long way it’s absurd to say everything is perfect did you know:
1 out of a 100 people are autistic.
Only 22% of autistic people are in employment

Most importantly there are still ignorant people. I have myself experienced people treating me differently upon learning I was on the spectrum. One memorable example occurred a career event where a man running a stall stopped talking to me when I mentioned my Aspergers. Still wish I’d reported that. I’ve had people assume I was “exaggerating” my life or assume I “Wouldn’t understand” It’s infuriating how some people generalise. The sad thing is some people aren’t even being purposefully cruel. They are drawing their views from a limited source such as the media or simply assuming we all have the same traits. We don’t we’re all people we’re all unique. Can we be similar? Yes but so can everyone. To give you a idea it would be like expecting two boys who grew up next door to each other went to the same school had the same basic family life etc to have the exact same personality and interests. Would it be fair to expect that? Of course not it would be absurd. Yet many people expect those on the autistic spectrum to react the same. I was once asked by someone why I found something hard as they knew someone else with autism found the same thing easy
If you still don’t see what I mean or think it’s a big deal then, that is part of why we still need to raise awareness and will continue to do so

Thank you for reading. Enjoy your bank holiday

#AutismAwarenessWeek

#AutismAwarenessWeek2021

Reflection on World Autism Awareness Day

Good eveningAs many of you will know today is a very species day. My birthday🥳Nah kiddingWell it is. But that not the real thing I’m posting about. Thank you to everyone I know who send me a message by the way today. Appreciate it. Now on to the real postThis week as you will know is world autism awareness week.Today is world Autism Awareness dayYou can learn more about what’s being going on here https://www.autism.org.uk/get-involved/raise-money/world-autism-awareness-week 

Or search using the below hashtags 

#AutismAwarenessWeek

#AutismAwarenessWeek2021

#AutismAwarenessDay

Now for the main part of this post I’d like to share a story. I debated sharing but feel it’s important. It came from my mam.

When I was younger for a few years I had epilepsy. It seemed to fade as I got older, but for a while I had real bad fits. This story took place when I was 13 years old I had been to the doctors with my Mam. We stopped at ASDA as I felt odd and we were still a while from home.

Mam told me to use the disabled toilet as she wanted to stay near me in case I felt bad.

I went in and she stayed by the door.

While I was in a lady came with her mother who was in a wheelchair. She saw me emerge and started saying things. “Why is HE in there HE doesn’t need it” My mam explained to me she never normally did what she did next. She never did any other time as far as I could recall.

She told me to go and look at the books and wait for her. The lady was still muttering. I was apparently oblivious as I walked off.

My mam asked the lady “Do you have something to say to me?” The lady said “He seems a bit big to be in there. There clearly isn’t anything wrong with him”

My mam bless her said “My son is autistic and has epilepsy he doesn’t feel well. Don’t assume things” The lady apparently didn’t know what to say. Mam told me this the other day and I was filled with so much love for her.

She’s  me all my life even when I didn’t know it.

When will people acknowledge hidden disabilities? Don’t assume things about people without knowing the facts. “You don’t look autistic” as long as that and “There nothing wrong with you” are being used then the work to raise awareness is not done.

Now I went back on forth in my mind about this post there are a million resource online and links that get shared. I could have done such a post today. Sometimes though the best way to make a point is to be direct. We live in improving times. There are now much more opportunities for those on the spectrum and more and more people are becoming aware of the value and insight and more importantly the rights people on the spectrum have. 

I’m in a pretty good place now. I have a good job friends. Hobby’s. I run and keep fit. I do open mic poetry. I still have my quirks though I still worry, still overthink. I’m still autistic even if I don’t look it.  The reason I’m saying this is people STILL even now make assumptions about autism and disability. Many not all I admit but a lot of people like disability to be a form they are comfortable with.

It doesn’t work like that.

We are all different people. We are all individual don’t try to pigeonhole us into one box.

Talk to us. Don’t assume.

Thank you all for reading

Start of Autism Awareness week my super 7 challenge

This Autism Awareness Week I’m doing the Super 7 Challenge because there I believe there is still lots of work to be done to raise Awareness and Acceptance of Autism and those on the spectrum. Some people will tell you it’s not a big deal anymore. Whilst it’s true we have came a long way did you know:
1 out of a 100 people are autistic.
Only 22% of autistic people are in employment

Most importantly there are still ignorant people. I have myself experienced people treating me differently upon learning I was on the spectrum. I’ve had people assume I was “exaggerating” my life or assume I “Wouldn’t understand” It’s infuriating how some people generalise.
If you still don’t see what I mean or think it’s a big deal then, that is part of why I’m doing it
The super 7 challenge asks only that you do 7 versions of the same activity.
I’m doing 7 runs over 7 days. All money I raise goes toward some the National Autistic Society.
Check out my progress here
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ross-punton2

That is my activity. Yours can be whatever you want. See here how you can get involved and start your own super 7 challenge https://www.autism.org.uk/get-involved/raise-money/world-autism-awareness-week/super-7-challenge