“Being diagnosed autistic as an adult immediately answered so many questions about my early years’ development and the way in which I’ve grown into an adult. It’s incredibly cathartic to be part of a business that wants to really get behind raising awareness of how autism impacts people at work. I could never have envisaged that this week I’d be writing blogs and creating presentations for Lovell, and other organisations to use. In some way I hope that my story gives other people, both at Lovell and in the wider construction community, the confidence to voice their own autism story. I have to raise awareness of autism both for the negatives, but the lesser known positives!
“I grew up incredibly shy (hard to believe to many now, who know me) and I knew that somehow I was wired differently to other people. It wasn’t that I was just a socially awkward teenager, I knew that the way I thought, the way I felt and the way I engaged with others was quite unique, to me. In the last 12 months, I’ve been able to articulate this with a much more insightful frame of reference which has significantly improved my mental health (which was suffering). Instead of me trying to fit into other people’s norms, I feel much more empowered to be me and more than ever, colleagues are asking about autism with genuine interest and empathy. I am trying my best to do what so many with Autism are forced to do, which is to drop the mask.
“World Autism Awareness Day has caused me to really think about the positive aspects of who I am, and how ‘being autistic’ brings a number of strengths to my role as a construction professional – you’ll always get a straight answer from me! The next stage of my own autism story is to find ways to mentor other people with autism, building on their own confidence in the workplace. With the support of Lovell, and organisations such as CIOB and IOSCM, I have been able to deliver practical workshops and presentations, which I hope go some way to raising awareness of the challenges autistic people often experience at work.
“It's great to be part of a business that is showing genuine support for people with autism, and through this awareness activity, I hope I can connect with other autistic colleagues in the wider Morgan Sindall Group – even if it’s just to share my blunt opinions! What I do know is that as every human is individual, every autistic person has their own set of unique characteritics and traits. Despite popular belief, we are not all ‘a little bit on the spectrum’, it’s an entire life-dominating condition and I hope through my blog and the work I do voluntarily with schools and professional bodies, at least one person will resonate with my story and find their own voice.”