Being different, being autistic

Mar 01, 2022
Being Different I’ve always known I was different and didn’t fit in in most places I went, whether that was school, college, work or even at home growing up. I was the little green man and everyone else were the humans. The trouble was, somehow, they knew I was different and that made me a target. Growing up different put a lot of pressure on me to find ways of avoiding the bullies and those who would do me harm. Sometimes I avoided the trouble, other times I was on the receiving end of some pretty harsh abuse. I call it abuse because it went way beyond “normal” school bullying. My college days were the worse when studying for my degree. I got thrown out of a first floor window, had seaweed put in my bed every night on a fieldtrip and got pinned down in my bed and had my hair cut off not to mention the near constant verbal battering they gave me. But, all of this somehow made me strong and resilient because I had goals and no one or nothing was going to stop me achieving them. Goals at school were on a two year cycle so that I put myself in the best position to make the best choices of the options available to me. First this was to be in the right classes for O levels, then get good grades to do A levels and so on. This enabled me to plan what I was going to do and work towards those goals. I spent twenty three years as a geologist in the construction industry before I knew I had Asperger’s Syndrome. My differences were sometimes highlighted and caused me problems, mostly in communication with others more senior to me who in some cases hadn’t been trained in the basic skills of project and man management. This sometimes led to clashes and because I was the junior of the two, I was deemed to be the trouble maker. Not all of these problems were my fault but it was me who had to compromise or back down. And that was my life up until I was fifty one when I got my diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome and everything fell into place. The big word for me from my diagnosis was understanding. I now understand why I am different, why I behave in a certain way and also, why others have treated me as an outsider. It was and remains quite a revelation and something that I have grown into over the last six years or so. I have embraced my diagnosis and consider my Asperger’s Syndrome as my superpower. It has given me the confidence to strive for things and to use the talents that I inherently have because of my Asperger’s Syndrome and other skills that I have learnt on the job as a geologist. In my geological career I was part of or was told many funny stories by others and this led me to writing these snippets down in a notebook. As these ideas grew and developed I was able to put them together and create new stories and I now write novels that were initially adventure and crime thrillers but are now fantasy for both teenagers, or young adult, and adults. I have published four books so far and have many more in the pipeline. I get a great deal of pleasure from writing and my latest works are a series that will be eight books. Now, I am on a mission to help people on the spectrum realise their potential and to help employers engage with the Asperger’s Superheroes for the benefit of all. I am a speaker and coach and want to see that people on the spectrum have a much greater impact on our world by sharing their skills and expertise and being innovative and included as we move forward into the future. These are exciting times for people on the spectrum but more needs to be done to encourage and support them in the workplace and I for one, think we are just at the beginning of that realisation.
 
Andrew Marsh
Andrew is a 57 year old former geologist from the construction industry who discovered a passion for writing inspired by things that happened at work, on sites, and in life generally. He has written a fantasy trilogy, and his current Young Adult work, the Jack Janson series. Six years ago, Andrew was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome which has brought great understanding to his life and this has also prompted him to write poetry on a number of topics, including his Asperger's. Now a speaker and coach he works with employers to highlight the superpowers of people with Asperger's Syndrome and helps employers better engage with them for the benefit of the business and the individual.