Jamie - Interview 02b

Age at interview: 22
Age at diagnosis: 9
Brief Outline: Jamie was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome when he was 9 years old. He uses certain techniques which helps him gain comfort and confidence in social interactions. He's working towards finding employment and leaving home to live independently.
Background: Jamie is single and unemployed. Ethnic background/nationality: White

More about me...

Jamie was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, aged 9, after his mum took him to the GP and he was referred to a local health centre for diagnosis. He described always feeling different to other people and lacked confidence in talking to people. He attended mainstream school which he described as positive and negative, as he was bullied a bit. After school he went to college and studied motor vehicle, service and repair, and then did a course at home about Essential PC Installation and Maintenance. After two years working in a clothing factory, Jamie was made redundant and has been unemployed for 12 months.
Jamie describes how he has learnt to interact more comfortably with people, and he runs through in his mind some situations to learn where he perhaps misunderstood the situation. He ‘pre-scripts’ conversations in his mind and this has all helped him to gain confidence. He says that a strength of AS is the ‘strong interests’ which means that people with AS can be very knowledgeable in particular areas. Jamie’s areas of strong interest are computers and photography. He has built his own computers and enjoys going on trips to other towns to take photographs. Jamie would like to get a job and says that he would like to live by himself at some point.
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Jamie's mum instigated his diagnosis as a child because his behaviour was different to other...

So can we talk about a bit about just before you were diagnosed at school, who was it decided that you needed a diagnosis?
It was my mum. 
And can you remember what happened?
Well she saw obviously, that I was a bit different and she saw, well my behaviour was a bit different to everyone else’s and I had additional learning needs and I was a bit behind in education and things like that.
And so was it the doctor who diagnosed you?
Yes, my GP. And I was referred to [building name] after as well just to confirm to that diagnosis as well. 
And what did they do at [building name]?
They took me for different like tests and things like that. It was quite a while ago to remember.
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Jamie 'bumps into difficulties' now and again because he misinterprets things.

And do you feel you have enough support?
At the moment, yes. I mean obviously I sometimes bump into difficulties now and then, because I might misinterpret things or... but apart it, it just happens now and then when you least expect it. But apart from that, it seems, it seems okay. But I think sometimes people having an understanding might help in some way, because they might be thinking I’m weird, you know, taking things literally all the, well not all the time, but now and then, when they don’t expect me to.
Is it mostly about you being literal?
Yes, as in taking things literally but sometimes, you can tell when people are joking and sometimes not. But sometimes it’s hard like that when judging you know, whether someone’s really joking or not. That’s one of the problems I’ve bumped into quite a lot, especially at work [laugh]. Because I used to have a laugh with the guys quite a lot at work, so I’d know when they were joking quite a bit but sometimes when they were serious, I sometimes thought they were joking, which is not, which is not good [laugh].
So what would you do in that situation, would you realise at the time that could be misunderstood. Or did you realise later thinking back, or…?
Yes that’s the way I work, because I like to look back on my behaviour and replay it quite a lot in my mind and try you know, figure where I went wrong or, and when I realise I did, I try and you know, speak to someone about it, or … but yes.
Do you think sometimes maybe you didn’t get it wrong? Whether it could have been the other people?
Yes. That’s happened, yes, sometimes people tell me that I might have misread their meaning and I think I went wrong or the other way round. It’s quite a confusing circle.
Do you think you’re learning to be less literal?
I think I have over time though, yes, I understand humour, much, well much better now than I did when I was younger, because I used to, according to my reports in my diagnosis and stuff, I used to take humour literal all the time, and any… those things that people said, but now, I understand jokes really well. I think, I think you just learn over the time, different experiences.
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Photography and computers are Jamie's areas of 'strong interest'.


Yes. I do like having, you know, areas of strong interests, which I’m sure lots of others have probably spoke about this as well because people with it tend to be quite knowledgeable in certain areas and in my particular, I’m into photography and computers, especially building them as well. Because I obviously study computers at home as well, because I really enjoyed that course I got into after and used to research about computers in my spare time and got fairly knowledgeable on them, as well as photography as well, going out and practising shooting and everything.

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Jamie worked for two years in a warehouse but is now looking for work.

And what have you done since you finished your course?
I studied another course at home, which was essential PC installation and Maintenance which working on computer hardware and everything like that and passed that. And, but after that I was looking for work in that area for a while, but didn’t have much luck so I just moved on to another, looked into another area of work and eventually went into this job I applied for, which was as a warehouse assistant working for a clothing wear company, picking and packing and I did that for two years and then I was made redundant, and now I am at this stage looking for work again.
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