Would You Give Him A Chance?

23 Aug

Firstly, thank you to all my lovely readers, twitter followers and Facebook friends, who took the time to read my Little mans inspiring post that he has published over on his very own blog.

The re-tweets on twitter, shares on Facebook, 100 + page views and that of a comment left on his post has put a huge smile on his face and a spring in his step. My Little man is now beaming with confidence.

It’s a big thing getting your voice heard, especially for my son who has real difficulties when it comes to expressing himself. Having seen his finished post, I think that writing may just be the answer for him.

Those who read the post have sent me some lovely tweets and messages, all congratulating me for raising such a well focused and inspiring child. Thank you to you all, I am extremely proud!

When Little man had finished writing his post, he asked for my opinions before sharing it with the world. He told me in no uncertain terms, that he didn’t wish to receive any feedback from myself as his mother but from that of a blogger (smarty pants). I really don’t know what it was I expected to read, maybe something about his special interests, WWE and transport (maybe a little Lego thrown in for good measure). But what I did read was actually something very different! I sat trying to hide my tears, one’s built upon happiness (little man doesn’t get the whole “I’m crying because I’m happy scenario”). Reading his thoughts, that of his emotions was insightful. It demonstrated the progress his made both mentally and emotionally! I felt immensely proud and as he hit the publish button my stomach did summersaults with excitement.

Now, as great as the content was, it did raise a number of questions within my own mind! The first being “Will my sons determination to succeed be enough to actually make it happen?” Now, please don’t get me wrong, I believe in my child, I believe that Aspergers Syndrome will not make him any less able to achieve his dreams, at 11-years-old he has already made it very clear that he wants to be the next Richard Branson, owning a string of businesses. Honestly, I don’t doubt his ability to make this more than just a dream. What I do doubt is that of our society and it’s ability to overcome the ignorance of today!

No, he doesn’t want to become an employee for an employer, he wants an investor to hear his ideas and label them as a good investment. Only, looking at today’s statistics even when it comes to basic employment, the odds are highly stacked against those on the Autism Spectrum in the same way they are stacked against those who experience mental health problems. Yes, Little man is quite clearly intelligent, but intelligence isn’t always the key needed to open every new door.

I’m not being negative, I believe my son has the capability to achieve anything he puts his hand to. However, as a parent I need to be realistic, exploring every possible hurdle that might come our way. You see, it’s not like we’re not used to a fight, we’ve fought our fair share of battles and come out on top . Preparation is the key to to enabling change for all!

So, let’s just look at the statistics here.

Only 15% of adults on the autism spectrum (ASD) in the UK are in full-time paid employment.

51% of adults with ASD in the UK have spent time with neither a job, nor access to benefits, 10% of those having been in this position for a decade or more.

61% of those out of work say they want to work.

79% of those on Incapacity Benefit say they want to work.
full statistical report concentrating on issues of education, employment and autism can be found by Clicking Here

This doesn’t look good does it?

Last year I wrote about a first meeting I had with a friend of mine. This friend was someone I met through Facebook, an adult diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome. At that current time he was unemployed due to no fault of his own. We are not talking someone just out the gates of secondary school but a full grown man with an impressive background in education. His interest in working with computers is a real passion of his, that when combined with his IT degree, makes him highly employable. Nonetheless, this friend of mine has actually worked before and done so on more than a few occasions. Sadly he always finds himself jobless again.The fact he isn’t great in social situations doesn’t help and he is normally dismissed for something beyond his control, like the time his employer failed to give him direct instructions meaning that he was left looking like he was failing to produce enough work. He won’t ask for directions, he doesn’t feel that he can approach and ask, it’s not in his nature and the employer knew this! While in this particular position, he was sat at a desk in a corner, a corner that was a good distance from his colleagues! He was not encouraged to interact so he kept himself to himself till home time when he would then unload all the days stress that he had kept suppressed throughout the working day.The Treatment was clearly that of discrimination in the workplace.

My friends most recent position was not given on a permeant basis, though it was made clear from the offset that such positions would become available once the term of “employees contract” had ended. There was at least 10 others taking the same position meaning all contracts would come to an end together at the same time. However, when this did happened, no one mentioned to my friend the prospect of maybe continuing on the job in a more permanent fashion. My friend asked and was told that he was not needed. It turns out that the other nine or so employees who started work for the company at the same time on the same day with the exact same contract, all ended up being offered full-time placements. What had my friend done wrong? He did nothing wrong! He had just been open and honest with his former employee when he told them he had a diagnosis of Aspergers syndrome.

The treatment above, isn’t something unusual and unheard-of! It’s something that many experience and do so on a daily basis… Yes, as if things were not hard enough during them school years!

My sons idea to make his own business is quite honestly one of brilliance! It removes the employer completely from the equation therefore allowing Little man to be himself without fear of judgement. However, to do this he needs someone to invest in his proposal (the one his had since age 9)! Now I ask you high flying business men & women out there… Regardless of how sensational my sons proposal may or may not be, if he then told you he had Aspergers Syndrome would you continue to take him seriously?

A recent documentary that I’m guessing many of you saw or at least heard about, documented how discriminating employers can be when they see an applicant has stated within their application form, that they have a diagnosis of a neurological condition such as Aspergers or that of a condition that falls under the mental health umbrella. Undercover reporters captured the shocking footage that clearly showed how discriminating such employers really are. The shocking truth revealed that actually society haven’t actually moved on as much as some first thought they had!

We need less prejudice and more faith in a persons ability regardless of any attached labels. The results would be a decrease in the unemployment rate and more efficient services provided to society by those joining the workplace! There would also be a noticeable decrease in the number of people diagnosed and treated with depression as well as a reduction in the number of services and benefits affected by government cuts.

It’s a big ask… The removal of societies ignorance! Realism takes hold off me and with it, I prepare for the future and whatever it may bring.

What I do know for sure is… Little man will make it, because his a fighter and I’ll be there supporting him all the way!

I wonder how many people who have declared a diagnosis of ASD or mental health problems, actually have a job here?

6 Responses to “Would You Give Him A Chance?”

  1. Trish September 2, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    Hi Claire, I found your blog because I have been searching for like-minded people. I have taken my passion to support my ASpie sons into self-employment by creating a Social Enterprise that does just that! 4 Square Pegs is a business and social network, helping ASpies to find their business niche and bridging the social gaps by providing the marketing, sales, PR and customer services. This is provided by other members of the enterprise, many of whom are related to the ASpies and, like us, have had their own work life hindered through caring for our ASpie children.

    I have found it frustrating that during my research in setting up 4 Square Pegs, groups and discussions that focus on ASpies wanting to take up self-employment are largely in the US and Australia, Britain seems to be a step behind. As is often the case when you can’t find the help you need, you have to take a giant leap and create the help yourself, which is exactly what we have done.

    I do hope that you will take comfort in knowing that there are many like us out there, and that you will pop over to 4squarepegs.co.uk to keep an eye on what we’re doing.

    All the best

  2. clairelouise82 August 26, 2012 at 7:24 am #

    Thanks for the comment, I do hope u make contact soon as you must be very worried. The states are a long way. I’m in London and we got lit mans diagnosis at 9 (but process took few years). It’s still hard but it’s better to know… Otherwise you wind up thinking your either a crap parent or your child has the numbers 666 painted across his forehead. Do hope u reconnect with your son and his father. Do keep me updated.

    Claire Louise.x

  3. It's only P! August 26, 2012 at 12:35 am #

    I am envious. Envious of you because you know your young son has Asperger’s. Mine is 24 and he does not know it. His father has it too, but he does not know it. It was never diagnosed. It is not discussable because dad is very defensive and would never accept it from me anyway. I came across the wikipedia article on Asperger’s a few months ago and was dumbstruck. My son’s father seems to match the symptoms 100%. My son quite a bit less – at least he’s always had friends because from the time that he was one year old I organised his social life and he was always keen to go to friends’ houses and have friends over at his. He has continued to have friends as an adult.
    My son left home at 19 and has done well at work where supervisors encouraged him a few times to go after promotions, which he got. Last year he distanced himself from his family. Every attempt from my side to be in touch with him he has ignored. I suspect he does not open his e-mails or listen to his voicemail when he sees my countrycode. I’ve sent him a bunch of postcards, but does he read them? I live in Europe and he lives in the States. His dad also lives in the States and has the same trouble getting hold of him. I know this can happen whether a child has Asperger’s or not but perhaps it’s easier for an Aspergoid to close himself off emotionally and not realise the sadness he causes. It is sad to only realise it now. So much of his behaviour makes sense now. He was always a difficult child to be around, distant, shy, defensive, egocentric, unsympathetic, unwilling to discuss anything, disapproving (as parents we became ‘stupid’ when he was only seven and I doubt he ever changed his mind on that). My mother heart loved him though. If only I could have seen him in an Asperger light. That is why I am envious, but very happy for you both.

  4. clairelouise82 August 23, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    Thanks hun he will be really excited when he logs on 🙂 He goes through all his followers, checks comments and looks for like. What he really loves doing is looking on the WordPress dashboard to see what country visitors have come from.

    Maybe the novelty will wear off but hopefully not as it’s great reading his thoughts and it’s a stress reliever (quite time 4 us both). Did have to go over it and help him but some of the words in correct place within the sentence… But his doing great! Dead proud.

    Claire Louise

  5. Whose Shoes? August 23, 2012 at 9:45 am #

    Wonderful blog, Claire. As always, from the heart, which is very powerful.
    You are doing so much to raise awareness and improve life chances. Not just for “Little Man” but for everyone facing some sort of “difference” and therefore likely discrimination and ignorance. I read and “liked” Little Man’s blog (very much!) and look forward to many more 🙂

  6. clairetiptop@aol.com August 23, 2012 at 9:20 am #

    I would . I believe that everyone deserves a chance. I wish him well in his life he will do well especially with you at his side.

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