Are Ewe Aware- Autism Awareness Month

Are Ewe Aware- Autism Awareness Month

2 years ago Harray YFC member Nicole Work wrote an article for our Are Ewe Okay campaign which gave us an insight into her life after being diagnosed with Autism. Now with April being Autism Awareness Month she is back with an update and an insight into why Autism Acceptance and Awareness is such an important issue and what all of us can do to move towards a more accepting and caring society.

Nicole Work- Harray YFC

Who would have known two years could go by in an instant.

Welcome back! For those of you who read my last article. For those who didn’t, here’s a link to part 1. I can’t believe we’ve still not heard the end of this awful virus; I do hope we’re coming to the end of it all, but I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see.

This month is one that I hold very dear to my heart and is so important in reframing the narrative surrounding Autism. It is not about Autism Awareness, but Autism Acceptance.

A brief summary for those of you who want a re-cap, I was diagnosed with Autism, Generalised Anxiety Disorder, and Depression within the space of two weeks back in November 2019.

I must say, the last two years have certainly been a rollercoaster, not only for me but for us all.

However, in saying that, I’ve been successful. I was offered the chance of a modern apprenticeship though my employer, NorthLink Ferries, which I completed as of February 2022. This led me to my new role as Customer Service Supervisor at Hatston Pier in Kirkwall, still – with NorthLink.

Being autistic was something that set me apart from other candidates for the job, because I can’t help but look outside the box (I don’t think you can even see the box from where I’m standing) it puts me at a competitive advantage because I can see new opportunities and areas where change can be made before others. Thankfully, my employer could see this. However, many don’t. The point I’m trying to make and emphasise is how much acceptance is required for those who live with the difficulties and delights that come with being autistic. Autistic people contribute meaningfully to society, this is something that we can and do incredibly well! Especially and particularly when we are well supported. Autistic acceptance is all about making reasonable adjustments which allow us to find solutions and come up with personal strategies to any challenges and barriers we face.

Acceptance embraces all aspects of being autistic. It is not about giving up or accepting defeat. Acceptance is not about stopping trying to have a good life. It’s about working with the fact that you or your loved one is autistic rather than fighting against it. It’s about stopping trying to “fix” or “cure” autism.

I am not something that is broken, I do not require fixing. I am a human being who is loved and deserves to be so regardless of how many “quirks” you think I have.

Autistic acceptance allows us to protect our mental health. The sooner we’re able to stop seeing ourselves as broken, the sooner we can start the process of healing and being happy.

We can be ourselves. The way we should be.

Authentically and truthfully ourselves.

As for the wider population, it’s about acknowledging that autistic people deserve the same opportunities as our non-autistic peers, it’s about fostering a deeper knowledge and understanding and improving the quality of life of autistic people.


So, I ask you; this month, just to take some time to think about how accepting you are of Autistic people, and if you’re doing enough.


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