Hello everyone. My name is Adam. I am 32 years old, and was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at age 12. A typical day for me begins at 7AM with breakfast and listening to Morning Edition from National Public Radio News. I first go to the Orange Public Library and History Center from 10:20AM – 12:20PM, return home for lunch, then go to the Fullerton Public Library from 3:30PM – 5PM. At the libraries I spend most of my time on social media. I view photos posted by my favorite bloggers like Becoming Minimalist, which often have printed words juxtaposed over an image. I call this type of photo a meme. I also read relationship advice blogs such as LifeHack.org. My favorite social network is Pinterest.
I reached out to Spectrum Success because I am tired of feeling like I cannot socialize outside the College Community Services Wellness Center, an adult mental health recovery day program in Orange, CA. I only attend the program on Mondays, where I participate in things such as Gardening workshops, Yoga class, listening to Vietnamese music, and talking to my friends. Every other Monday there is a smoking prevention class that is taught by The Wellness Center’s Health Educator. He encourages even non-smokers to attend as most of the content is actually stress management & prevention techniques.
Attendees of the program are called members, and most of the Wellness Center members have bipolar disorder in some form and were born before 1970. That causes generational conflicts between me and them. The lack of peers diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome makes most of the Wellness Center members almost impossible for me to relate to. Outside of that program, every person I try to meet asks, “What do you do for work?” or, “Where do you work?” The only accurate answer was, “I don’t work.” I started feeling a stronger need than ever before to change that because the conversation died every time I revealed that I don’t make money. It made me feel like in Orange County, California, you ARE your job, and without one nobody wants to know you at all, even if you qualify for and receive SSI and are NOT homeless.
When Spectrum Success offered me an internship in Marketing, I was excited and smiling. Spectrum Success is an organization that helps autistic folks learn the skills to find jobs that they are interested in, and teach them the tools to stay at those jobs long term. We are even talking about eventually creating programs to help autistic folks in other areas of life. Helping an organization that does these things will allow me to make a difference for the better in the autistic community. In this blog I will be sharing my personal employment experiences and struggles with you, as well as sharing research and resources to help other autistic folks in my community.