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Steve - Interview 37

Age at interview: 48
Brief Outline: Steve and his son have been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. Steve is studying for a degree in autism using distance learning and has heightened sensory sensitivities and some OCD traits.
Background: Steve and his wife have one son, aged 9. Ethnic background/nationality: White British.

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Steven is married and has one son, aged 9.  Both Steven and his son were diagnosed with Asperger syndrome three years ago; and Steven was relieved to understand why he feels and behaves the way he does.  He and his son have similar behaviours, like prowling up and down a lot, always knowing that they are right, being literal, heightened hearing and smell and some OCD traits.  For example, for Steven, the number seven is yellow, the letter A is red and M is a mucky green colour which smells of petrol.

Steven has always tried to fit in, which is hard work. It is tiring trying to understand people. He finds that neurotypical people are not ordered and he thrives on order. For Steven, every day is like the experiencing a job interview fifty times over and while he might get used to a situation, it doesn’t mean that he likes it. 

Steven likes having Asperger syndrome and thinks people with AS have contributed a lot to society.  He feels that people with ASD’s can learn from neurotypical people and vice versa but barriers need to be removed to enable this. 

Steven has various special interests (which his partner calls obsessions) and he spends a lot of time on these.  He is studying for a degree in autism by distance learning and likes interacting on electronic forums. Because computers are predictable he is very comfortable using them, rather than physically interacting with people. 

He is concerned that his son is not fully supported at school because teachers generally are not given appropriate training to enable this.  He says couldn't do anything without his partner and values all she does for him and their son.

 

Steven thinks a lot of opportunities for children are being missed because teachers lack...

Steven thinks a lot of opportunities for children are being missed because teachers lack...

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I don’t think, I think the school itself needs, they need, I think they actually feel that they are providing for him. But the provision is not there and I think unless you are a parent or unless you are a person with AS that knows what kind of strategies should be in place that obviously aren’t in place and there is no training for the teachers as such as yet. There is no, they no inset training which I think basically consists of a six minute video which really my son could do that himself really. I think there is lots of… there is a lack of understanding. I do appreciate that teachers are busy and they have got lots of things to do but I feel that ideally if teachers were to be more supportive and schools to be more supportive of the actual LSA’s which are the learning support assistants or the TA’s the teaching assistants. And they were given more responsibility and they were looked on more favourably as being the people that do know they could share that extra burden I suppose, if you want to call it a burden, of people with special educational needs, not necessarily just autism or Asperger's, but special needs in general and that the workload could be shared and the teachers could probably have a better experience.
 
I know it is difficult but there is a big difference between wanting to learn something and being made to learn something. You can’t make anybody learn anything but if that is how they are told that their day is going to be. That they have to learn about autism to carry on I don’t think they will want to do it. But if you make them want to be able to... and if a young child with autism, let’s say did an amazing an amazing piece of work or did sort of level pi let’s say for argument’s sake they did pi to 250 which for a little kiddie would be quite good, considering that most people don’t know it up to ten. If they did it to 250 then the teacher would be the first one to say oh I have got this little boy that can do or little girl that can do pi to 250. He is fantastic. And he has got Asperger's syndrome and blah blah blah but if the child doesn’t feel comfortable enough to do pi to 250 although he is probably able to go to more than 250 but because of the awareness the teacher is not bothered so there is lots of opportunities missed I think for people on the spectrum, kids, and the teachers are actually missing out as well, because of the lack of awareness. I think awareness needs to be promoted a lot more. And the fact that like you can’t catch Asperger's syndrome it is something that you have already got. So they can talk to kids about things.
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