At the age of 65, I was diagnosed with being on the Autism Spectrum from birth. A bit late, to find out, you might think. However it was a relief. Being misunderstood all my life, has not been easy.
I need routine & I have specific interests. This is why I wrote a book about my story of life, to explain why I struggled to grow up, being clumsy, not fitting in anywhere & making many simple mistakes.
The struggle to grow up
I found it very difficult to concentrate at school. I was often in trouble for doing nothing. I thought windows were to look out of, as I day dreamed.
At mock G.C.E. O level time my mother was in hospital. I took all the subjects & failed in all except Maths. I could never concentrate to read very much. It was a relief to pass Maths. I was allowed to only take 3 subjects in the real exams. I failed English 3 times.
Work and more struggle
Due to my Maths being ok I started work as a Time & Wages Clerk at a large steel company for £3.50 a week, on my 16th birthday in 1963. In the 60s & 70s it was easy to drift from job to job. With my poor social skills it suited me. Looking back I got jobs that I wasn’t capable of doing. It’s amazing how many jobs involving figures that were suitable for my limited skills.
After 50 years of work, 19 jobs in 26 years my final job lasted 24 years. I was given the opportunity to have a job I was most suited to of all the jobs in 50 years of work & training. As an Audit Clerk I was responsible for checking stock both physically & on a computer system. A lot of figure work and routine meant that the job was totally suitable for the condition that I didn’t know that I had. I always knew something wasn’t quite right. I actually enjoyed being there and I missed the routine when I retired.
Background noise and sudden loud noises have always affected my ability to concentrate. I was aware of this at an early age and the disability still exists. I had asked for Rock Radio not to be played in the warehouse, a few years before my diagnosis, because it affected concentration. I became Mr More Unpopular to many colleagues in the warehouse, some refusing to speak to me. I was already over 18 months past age 65 retiring age, so I retired 2 months short of age 67, to escape & avoid any more conflict.
Retirement is difficult
The story so far, hopefully explains why retirement is difficult, on a low private pension. Many low paid jobs - no pension contributions.
However I used to say life was a struggle but after diagnosis for a lifelong condition with no medical cure, I began to realise that my life became a positive challenge with the struggle so I enjoy using the low income looking for bargains & trying to make the best of everything possible despite whatever.