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Flick: Interview 01

Age at interview: 21
Brief Outline: Flick's mum and two brothers have been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome in the past five years.
Background: Flick is a student. Her ethnic background is White British.

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Flick’s two brothers and mother were diagnosed with Asperger syndrome in the last five years. Flick describes how she just thought her mum was a “bit mad” when they were growing up and when she was diagnosed, Flick didn’t think much of it. When her younger brother, Martin, was diagnosed, she began to read about the condition and did a project on it as part of her ‘Film and Television Studies’ course at college. She found it “weird” when her older brother, Ollie, was diagnosed because she had spent more time with him when they were growing up and had previously never suspected he had autism.
 
Flick describes her family as “mad as batshit” and enjoys the fun they all have. She can feel left out at times and she feels like she doesn’t fit in with them as well. She lives with her boyfriend and brother while she completes her university degree.
 
 

Flick talks to her college friends about her autistic relatives, but not to anyone she has just met.

Flick talks to her college friends about her autistic relatives, but not to anyone she has just met.

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My close friends I sometimes talk to it about, but I don’t, like if it, I don’t think I’ve ever turned round gone, “Oh yeah, by the way, I have three relatives that are autistic.” If it just like comes up in a casual way. Like, it’s only with my close friends. I won’t, I don’t talk about it with people I just meet or anything. But I mean they’re just sort of like, they’re on the same standing as me they don’t think it, like they don’t look at me and go, “Oh your family has issues,” or anything. They, I mean like they’ll meet my mum and they’ll meet my brothers and they’ll go, ‘actually yeah they’re pretty cool’. So it’s nice, I mean, because I’d hate to be associated with people that had a lot of prejudice and think it was a bad thing to be on the spectrum in any way, shape or form.

 

Flick used to think a lot of her friends’ mums were boring.

Flick used to think a lot of her friends’ mums were boring.

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So do you want to tell me what it’s been like growing up with brothers and a mum who’s on the spectrum?
 
I don’t know. I just thought my mum was a bit mad [laughs] cos she was diagnosed like really late. So I just thought she was a bit mad, but I suppose when you see her every second weekend it’s probably kind of cool to have a mum that’s a bit mad, because she does fun things. And it’s nice to do fun things. 
 
So you thought she was mad and then you found out she has Asperger's?
 
I mean not like mad in a bad way, but like…
 
Good mad?
 
Like mad hatter mad.
 
What sort of things would you do that was fun?
 
We used to go swimming a lot. We went to the cinema. She let us go see Space Jam on one of our last weekends before we moved out to Australia and that was cool, and she’d take us to the park and stuff, and we used to do like crafty type things. I think we went to a fete or something and we did all this crafty type stuff, which is fun, because it’s not like we’d just go over to her house and just watch TV. She’d make us do stuff.
 
So did you used to look at your friends mums and sort of think my mum’s really different to that?
 
Probably but I used to think a lot of my friends’ mums were really boring. 
 
 

Flick talks about a college film project that she made about autism.

Flick talks about a college film project that she made about autism.

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Not straight away. But when Martin got diagnosed I did some reading and stuff and I did a documentary on it for one of my college projects which actually did quite well and I interviewed my mum and like, and… no we didn’t interview Martin, but yes. I did some reading on it, so I know more about what it is now. But not like masses like mum does.
 
So what was the documentary about, your family was it?
 
It was just about autism in general, but well I was, there was me and another guy in the group who both had relatives that had autism. So we found we found it easier to interview and film our relatives because we basically had the research at home. Not meaning to make my family sounds like lab rats or anything, but it was easier and we probably had one of the most interesting projects out of my whole class.
 
 

Flick sometimes feels left out because her mum and siblings have ASD and she does not.

Flick sometimes feels left out because her mum and siblings have ASD and she does not.

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I...because all three of them are like really intelligent and stuff, I kind of feel like I’ve got to push harder at certain things. Like uni… Like my mum’s just finished and she got a 2'1 and I really want to get a 2'1 but I don’t think I’m going to get anything higher than a 2'2 so I feel like I have to push myself more, so I can keep up and make everyone proud and stuff. I’d really like to make everyone proud.
 
Do you feel the odd one out in your family then?
 
Sometimes. But then again I think that’s me just being insecure.
 
 

Flick felt that having information and being part of a support group would not have changed the...

Flick felt that having information and being part of a support group would not have changed the...

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Do you think you would have liked to sort of get involved with a sibling support group when you were younger or not?
 
Well I didn’t really know about autism when I was younger. I only started hearing about it in my mid to late teens. So it would have been irrelevant and I probably wouldn’t have known what was going on.
 
Would it have helped or would it have made your life different if your mum had been diagnosed earlier do you think or not?
 
Probably not. I assume I would have been told in some way, but I wouldn’t have really known what it was and I’d just have been like, “Okay, oh something shiny.” And then just gone about my stuff and again not really looked at anyone any differently. 
 
 

Flick thought that knowing more about autism would not change how she felt.

Flick thought that knowing more about autism would not change how she felt.

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Do you think you would have liked to sort of get involved with a sibling support group when you were younger or not?
 
Well I didn’t really know about autism when I was younger. I only started hearing about it in my mid to late teens. So it would have been irrelevant and I probably wouldn’t have known what was going on.
 
Would it have helped or would it have made your life different if your mum had been diagnosed earlier do you think or not?
 
Probably not. I assume I would have been told in some way, but I wouldn’t have really known what it was and I’d just have been like, “Okay. Oh, something shiny!” And then just gone about my stuff and again not really looked at anyone any differently. 
 
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