The Asperger’s Effect – Decoding the Stigma

As The Asperger’s Effect series comes to its conclusion, I had some time to consider my penultimate article and I have had lots of article ideas pop up in my head recently. It was not until today that the Beacon Hill in Rednal gave me an idea to write about decoding stigmas within Asperger’s.

Stigmas are an interesting area for the autistic spectrum because I have had my fair share of them with and without my Asperger’s. Being told I should not enter a certain area in Birmingham by my parents or do things that were way beyond my comfort zone were some examples of stigmas I faced as a child that I have learned to overcome as an adult.

It made me wonder why I was being wrapped up in cotton wool to the point where I simply had enough and decided to face my own stigmas head on. I can admit to being scared of dogs as a child, but after walking a dog and sitting on top of the Beacon Hill with plenty of dogs running around, its an incredible accomplishment because I knew I would face my fear of dogs well.

Even talking about Asperger’s which is something I struggled with, I am more open about this than I used to be. It’s not a disability or developmental disorder but I do things differently and whilst my social skills have improved tenfold over the years, I always find areas I can improve on socially to strengthen my conversations I have with my friends.

In all honesty, there is no right or wrong way of tackling stigma whether having been diagnosed with Asperger’s, depression, bipolar or mental health issues. However, being open and discussing about it with your friends, family or employees can make a huge difference to tackling the “stigma” issue that plagues modern society right now.

I must say that when I opened up to my friends and industry professionals about my Asperger’s, it was a weight that immediately came off my shoulders. Being a Media Graduate from Birmingham City University and wanting to build a career in the media and analytics industries, it gives me so much hope and promise through everything I have done to build my varied portfolio in Tableau and other media platforms.

There’s always going to be knockbacks no matter what and I have experienced that with my graduate job hunt, but its how you get back up and continue to find that first job is the most crucial part. Keep at it and the rewards will come which comes to the best bit of advice I have had in my career so far and it came from broadcasting legend Jim Rosenthal on Twitter.

It pretty much sums it up well, but “tenacity and ability” is key to succeeding in not just the media industry but any industry. I have so much respect for Rosenthal considering he has covered boxing, over 150 F1 GP’s, 3 Rugby World Cups, UEFA Champions League, World Cup Football and so on for ITV Sport. Imparting his advice to someone like me who is trying to break into the industry is something that I will take on with high regard.

I can only thank everyone from friends and industry professionals for being so supportive and helpful in understanding my Asperger’s. Doing this series has helped me find my voice and smash the stigma out of existence. The last piece in this five-part series will look at how I challenge Asperger’s positively without the stereotypes people portray Aspies.

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