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Ian - Interview 13b

Age at interview: 22
Age at diagnosis: 8
Brief Outline: Ian is 22 and was diagnosed with autism with he was 8 years old. He is currently doing a vocational waiting at table course and is interested in palaeontology and film making.
Background: Ian is 22 years old. He is single and is a student. Ethnic background/nationality: English.

More about me...

 Ian is 22 and was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome when he was 8 years old. During his school years 5 to 11 he was educated in a special school for children with moderate learning difficulties well versed in AS, and feels that going to a special school was crucial in enabling him to get to where he is today. After school he started a course specific for students with special needs at a mainstream college, but soon left as he felt the students were treated “like kids” regardless of the severity of their condition. Ian moved on to mainstream college courses and has completed a catering course and is now doing a vocational waiting at table course and a two year computer course.
 
Ian is creative and in his spare time he does content creation for simulator computer games. He also enjoys making films with his friends; they are currently creating a spoof of the drama series Charmed. He is also very interested in palaeontology and regularly goes on paleontological digs to find fossils. 
 
Making friends used to be difficult for Ian, but he now finds it much easier and enjoys an active social life. He mostly mixes with people who have autism, Asperger’s or learning difficulties, as he feels they understand each other better. Although, he does get on with other people, he finds he cannot adapt to their environment or “be like them”. Ian thinks that he has been lucky because his special interest in palaeontology is shared by a lot of people.
 
In the future Ian sees himself getting a job waiting on tables. He considers himself to be fairly self-sufficient as he is able to cook and manage his own money. When he is ready he plans to leave the family home and live independently with some support organising things such as utility bills. Ian also intends to travel the world with his friends while going on paleontological digs. 
 
 

Ian finds it difficult to know if people are laughing at him or with him.

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I find that hard to understand, laughing at someone or laughing with them. Because my dad, the way my dad laughs sometimes I think he’s laughing at me and that’s why I get nasty with him, because I think he’s taking the mickey. I’ve got to watch my language because I know what I’m like sometimes. So, and that’s why I get funny with him. I say, “Are you taking the effing mick.” I usually say to him you know, because I do swear quite a bit because I think, because I think it’s just normal to swear, you know, because everyone does it. And I’ve picked it up off everybody else, and I think well, if everybody’s “effing” this, “effing” that, well I don’t do it as much as I used to but I thought to myself well if everyone’s doing it, that’s the normal thing to do. You know what I mean, it’s the 21st century isn’t it? And that’s what I think, that’s how I’m supposed to be you know. I think, because even girls do it, even girls swear you know.
 
Are saying, sometimes I don’t understand if somebody’s laughing at me or with me. Is there some support do you think could help you with this?
 
I don’t know really. But how can you tell if someone’s laughing at you or laughing with you, because, because when they laugh it sounds exactly the same doesn’t it? You know, because I think I say something, they just burst into laughter about it and I feel like, I think, to me I don’t think it’s funny. I tell him it’s not when I think he’s laughing at me because I’ve said something because, because to him it all sounds stupid or something. And that’s why I think you know, ‘who the hell do you think you are?’ You know, and that’s why I get all gangstery on him, you know what I mean, as he calls it. You know, I say, “Well, you’re disrespecting me, this, that and the other…” That’s when I get all funny with him. You know, I’d say he doesn’t do it as much. I think he tries not to laugh, laugh that much because he knows that, because he thinks that, because I always think that I’m being, because I think that he’s laughing at me when he knows that he’s not. So it’s quite, [laughs] quite confusing, seriously. 
 

Ian is sensitive to the tone of voice people use with him and can get very angry, particularly...

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Well, usually the fears I fear is… I don’t really have much of a fear. I think when I get angry it’s like a fear that I don’t know how to handle it. If my dad sometimes snaps at me sometimes, you know, I can get really, really aggressive with him, you know, and it’s because I don’t know how to handle it. Yeah. And obviously he finds it hard to calm me down. So I always go to my mum to explain things better, because he tries his best, I don’t think he’s as good as my mum is in a way, in that respect. I think it’s a man thing isn’t it? I don’t know.
 
So you sort of get really angry?
 
Yes. It’s his tone of voice I think, because probably it’s the way, I think tone of voices do make me think that they’re being aggressive towards me and I start to defend myself and have a go back. And higher authority I think, I’ve always had problems with. I think I always will. So like, if teacher used to shout at me at school I used to, I used to really have a go back. And I couldn’t understand why no one else did when they got shouted at. I thought to myself, ‘are you a bunch of wusses or something?’ you know, ‘stand up for yourself’. Because obviously… Mum said the thing is, they that if it’s wrong. You know what I mean, I thought it’s like okay either way, you know. So I’ve always been like that, yeah. So …yes, and no, funny answer [laughs].
 
 

Ian has a new obsession about people respectfulness and will hold grudges against people who are...

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Is this a new obsession, disrespectfulness?
 
Mother' Yeah, it’s been, yeah, a few months it’s been going on for hasn’t it?
 
Ian' Yes.
 
And can you give me an example of when somebody is disrespectful to you?
 
Ian' Well I think I was doing some work for my dad’s project at work. It was…And I think because he was getting frustrated or something, he had a go at me and stuff and then I started having a go back at him. I said, I think I said to him, I said, “Don’t disrespect me, [name].” You know, and then I stormed off. You know, what I mean. So that was it, I held a grudge against him until I sorted it out so.
 
What does it feel like holding these grudges?
 
Ian' Eh. I don’t know. Just… sometimes it feels a bit bad, but I do it, because you know, I feel that they are in the wrong. And they should apologise, no matter what they’ve said. You know what I mean, because at the end of the day, you know, I feel like I’ve done nothing wrong you know, I always think I’m always right. You know what I mean, and actually most people with autism do that. Even [name], he always thinks he’s right. No matter what [laughs], so we’re both as bad as each other really, it’s quite funny.
 
 

Ian feels lucky that his interest in palaeontology is shared by many people.

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Oh and they also had a profession palaeontologist there which is quite good on the day. We all went into that, because he, he was teaching us all about the different fossils that he’s found and seen, and, and we’d all ask questions and stuff and I tell you something he knows he’s stuff he does. So I learnt about off him, you know. He had like this massive T. Rex’s jaws, like this. We had to hold it, it was like my dream come true holding this real dinosaur in my hands, it’s like this is brilliant, you know, it was like… And I got those pictures as well, my friend took pictures and stuff it was really good.
 
It’s a nice interest you’ve got there
 
It is a good interest. I say most people… I say I’m lucky in that respect because I’ve got this friend called [name]. He’s got an obsession with, well, sometimes weird. He has an obsession with buses. Don’t ask me why? I don’t know. He just likes buses. Now for him, it’s hard for him to talk about his interests with other people because most people aren’t that keen on them are they? But with me, most people are keen on dinosaurs and stuff aren’t they? Because it’s like a… Like you work at a university and I bet there’s a palaeontology course at the university isn’t there? And most people I mean are into dinosaurs and palaeontology aren’t they, because there’s new stuff to find, there’s always, there’s something new everything isn’t there with it? And that’s why I’m lucky to have an interest to share with other people. Yes, I really am. [Addresses mother] You said I’m pretty lucky with that interest, aren’t I? To have that, you know. The same with my friend, my mate [name], he’s obsessed with cars and he’s lucky with that he just, he can share it with other people as well. So me and him are quite lucky in that respect. I think myself lucky for it really.
 
 

Ian's first college was a 'disaster' as it was a special course where the students were 'treated...

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And then I went to [college name] which was a whole disaster really [laugh]. Because we went to a special course where they treated us all like kids really which wasn’t really… because they had like a severe … and also our type of disability as well, which, and they all treated all like severe which was, that’s why I moved to [town name] and all that, and I’ve got, had a better course and I’ve done really well. I’m on a, I’m on a mainstream course now. Did catering last year and now I’m, service skills, waiting skills, which is going to be quite good. I’m looking forward to it actually in September.

 

Ian doesn't let anything bother him anymore.

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Are you still anxious about things now?
 
No actually I don’t think. As I said I don’t let anything bother me now. I just said to myself you know, whatever happens it won’t bother me now. I just say that; drill that into my head, because I know, because I know what I’m like. I just start, I get anxious and I’ll stop eating and I’ll be sick every day, you know, and I know that’s what happens to me when I get really anxious. Anxiety attacks they’re called. So I make myself not worry about anything.
 
 

Ian finds it easier to make friends with autistic people as they think the same.

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 Why do you think that is?
 
Because, only because they’re a similar personality to me. You know what I mean. I don’t find it that hard to make friends with people without problems. It’s just I find it a little bit difficult to mix in the environment or be like them, if you know what I mean. It’s quite … [laughs] quite hard. 
 
Can you explain, in what way is it hard, because I find that difficult to understand?
 
…understand, okay. Like you know, because I think it’s like, you know, because, it’s the way they talk to each other that I find difficult to adapt to that. You know, it’s like because if I talk the way I do and stuff, you know. And obviously all my friends who are autistic talk very similarly, you know what I mean we always have a good conversation and we always think the same. With them I say, I say, they don’t think the same as I do and I find it a bit difficult to adapt with them. You know, but … I do, I try my best, but you know, there’s a limit you can do isn’t there really, at the end of the day.
 
 

Ian explains why he finds some behaviour disrespectful.

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I do find it hard. In social situations, like obviously they’re talking to someone else, I must say like, when we on holiday and stuff, if they have a conversation with someone else and I feel like I’m being left out, so I butt in to join in the conversation, you know, what I mean. Or if they don’t, one thing that really gets on my wick is that if they don’t, if I say their name and they don’t answer me. Because [Grandma] used to get really hacked off with her when she never replied to me, and we had a go to her about it. I do it to everyone. But the thing, they keep saying to my, they keep saying that they aren’t ignoring me, it’s just that they’ve got, that they are finishing this conversation off. You know what I mean. But they don’t even say, you know, if you’re being called at the end of the day I think you should answer them. You know, you shouldn’t ignore them until…. You know what I mean, it’s rude isn’t it? If you think about it.
 
So if they’re in the middle of a conversation and you called, said one of their names…?
 
Yeah, for all they know it could have been an emergency couldn’t it. Like for example like if someone had a heart attack or something then you’ve got to butt in haven’t you and you’ve got to stop the conversation. It’s the same sort of thing though isn’t it at the end of the day? You still want to, want to speak to them. It’s just that I find it really, really disrespectful in a way and rude.
 
 

Ian's mum deals with bills because they aren't important to him

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So what’s difficult about everyday life that you need support? Would you know?
 
I think like when I read like, well I can read things, but it’s like understanding what they want and stuff, like you know if bills came through and stuff. Mum usually reads the stuff and obviously deals with these things obviously, when I read stuff, I just look at it, and put it away and don’t know what to do. Is what I always do, because I look at it and go oh okay then. Because it’s not important to me, I don’t bother with it, you know, so it’s that sort of thing with me.
 
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