Most people can learn the mysteries of life from other people. They decide the rules, communicate, interpret and fit in. Autistic people, like me, are wired differently. We perceive things internally and literally – experiencing the world with hyper-aware senses (and people with trepidation)
People have a lot of expectations of me and often don’t think my autism is severe. They are visibly surprised when I disclose my condition. However, if I behave according to my autistic nature, they get cross and sometimes verbally aggressive. That’s a lot of pressure to endure which makes my life harder. Mild-autism is someone else’s judgement – they see me acting ‘normal’ and believe it to be a reliable indication of my true self. I maintain an act as much as possible because life has taught me that things get very bad if I don’t (this is a common autistic way of living).
My autobiography is woven with insight, observations and ways for Autistic or learning disabled service users and families living with an autistic sufferer to see inside the syndrome from an autistic point of view. I wanted my work to be a useful tool read by ‘normal’ people as an informed way of how to interact with special individuals. I view your normality with interest and have grown up wanting to be you. I am now in my fifth decade and wouldn’t swap places with you for one minute. I am fine – just as I am.
Read this book forwards, backwards or in bite-sized chunks to see through the eyes of an ‘Aspie’ as we are beginning to be affectionately referred to (and I like this). Understand my obsessive need to repeat intricate details through stories of being bullied, lost, loved and misunderstood. It will change your life. www.autismlivetraining.com
Please vote for Richard to win The People’s Book Award here: http://www.peoplesbookprize.com/
So that he can continue to work supporting young adults with autism to find jobs and keep them.
Richard Maguire is one of the most inspirational people I’ve had the privilege to know. Diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome as an adult, many might consider Richard to be ‘mildly affected’ by autism. He has extra-ordinary skills as a trainer, a wonderful sense of humour, drives a car, holds down a job and is married with a son. On the face of it, his life does not seem to have been overly troubled by autism. This outward appearance belies the extreme of the difficulties he faces and needs to overcome daily in order to succeed. Richard is a highly valued core member of our Autistic Training Team at Autism Oxford and I hope that his book reaches into the hearts and minds of those who can make a difference to people who, like him, live as actors on life’s neuro-typical stage.
Kathryn Erangey BPhil Autism, PE Cert ASC
Managing Director - Autism Oxford
Of all the autobiographies by people with autism that I've read, ' I Dream in Autism' is different. It isn't just an account of the author's (often painful) experiences but takes one right into the centre of what it feels like to be on the autistic spectrum. From the beginning Richard invites the reader into his head, to share his sensory distortions and goes on, 'Are we sitting uncomfortably?
1. People with autism do not feel emotion. Wrong.
2. People with autism do not have a sense of humour. Wrong.
3. Children with autism are 'lazy', 'naughty', stupid'. Wrong.
4. That 'being quiet' necessarily indicates improved behaviour rather than deeper withdrawal. Wrong. (I wrote this in a report about a child a few weeks ago before reading this book. I was told she was more tolerant of children kicking the patterns she was assembling on the floor and this indicated an improvement.)
And so on.
Phoebe Caldwell DSc
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