Last 12 Months

So looking back on the last 12 months, a hell of alot has changed for me. Not only do I now have autism but I have 2 jobs and still referee whilst helping out with an under 17 side and volunteering for prostate cancer. If someone would have offered me this last January I would have laughed in their face!:) So after 3 months at topps tiles, where I met someone I genuinely cared about when she came in with her mum one day, I left there after unfortunate circumstances. I hope she sees this and understands that I never meant to hurt her and I’m truly sorry for everything. Nothing against the place what so ever, but I applied for a Monday to Friday job, and then they wanted weekends which is something I simply can’t do. Come end of June time, an interesting post appeared online working for a company called RunningBall who would base me in the media dept at salop!:) Pretty much an ideal job. After 6 weeks of training through skype 3 days a week, I met my Boss Trevor in person who finished off my training portfolio. So I was then a qualified football scout!:) Not too bad for someone who can’t play football himself. Met some brilliant people since then such as Grant holt, Mark Clattenburg and Mark Clemmit just to name a few. All great people and all who are true gentlemen. Early in August, my sister recommended I got myself tested for Autism. As reluctant as I was, I agreed and soon enough, as you will know, I was diagnosed with it. Life changed pretty quickly as it gave me answers to a lot of my fears and insecurities about things. October time and Tesco came about for me. 2nd job under my belt so even more cash coming in for me. 🙂 Plenty of hours and over time later and the pay check came through and the over time hasn’t really stopped since, which is brilliant come the end of the month. Met some genuine people there who I can honestly say are all brilliant mates and I can trust. Unfortunate news to dad in December gave a crap end to the year and it’s still the same now if I’m being honest. Never really thought how much dad having cancer would affect me personally. To see someone so close and who I care about so much struggling is truly the bitch of life! The blog I’ve recently started has gave me an outlet and whether people see it or not, I know it helps me. If people don’t like it, so be it, they’re entitled to an opinion, as am I. The group of friends I have has never been better than ever if I’m being truly honest. They support me through so much and Jack Walters and his family, amongst others, have been truly brilliant and I’m incredibly thankful to both you and your parents for everything recently. I’m a much stronger person these days compared to not only a year ago, but I’m a different person from the one who left school with no confidence and the fear of doing things which don’t necessarily go with the “norm” of life. People can say what they like about me these days and it doesn’t effect me at all. I’ve been through that shit already and I can say that although it all hurt at the time, I’m a better person for never rising to any antagonism I ever received. Hopefully the next 12 months will be great and I will be a stronger person again then. Many focuses allow me to concentrate my energy on numerous topics. Next post should be up Friday so until then, AR

The Blogs response

In general I’ve had a positive response to my posts. Of course there has been a few negative comments here and there but that’s expected. For me the blog allows me to finally express my emotions and thoughts about the previous 19 and a half years of my life.
At present just doing this takes my mind off my troubles at home. With dad having cancer, it’s as you all can imagine very difficult to just crack on with things. The constant worry of someone so close to me passing away, is a difficult feeling to control and to consistently muster the courage to put a smile on for both of my jobs.
A few people at work and mates have seen this have been all supportive and think it’s a positive thing for me to do. Even with the negative comments and opinions, it doesn’t effect me as in reality what it’s doing is increasing my viewing stats to the point where I was in the top 50 newly started blogs in the world in terms of viewing stats in the first week. So on that basis, all I can say is, Thanks everyone:)
Is this an attention seeking blog? Not really, it’s an escape from the hard times. My question to all my readers is this, Isn’t any post on Facebook or tweet simply attention seeking? You’re asking for a response otherwise why would you put it? Whether it be likes on a photo or status or retweets etc, it’s all the same principle in my opinion.
I’m not going to drag on with random dramble this evening so I’m simply going to keep it short 🙂
AR

Famous Autistic People

When I was first diagnosed with autism in 2014, the selfish and insecure side of me instantly thought “why me?” I believed I was the only one going through it as it gave me a big change on my outlook on life. After researching people who have succeeded despite having autism it gave me a much more positive view on things.
For instance Guy Martin who is a famous motorbike driver is a big inspiration of mine. For him to achieve the things he has despite having ASD is nothing short of incredible. He has gone beyond what anyone ever expected of him when he first started racing and he has done brilliantly!

Mozart the famous composer who achieved so much and his compositions still are regarded as some if the greatest ever to this present day.

Knocking on Heavens door singer, Bob Dylan is strongly rumoured to have Aspergers too. I certainly would love to see what the people who bullied him at school are doing now.

Another prime example is Susan Boyle. Although she is constantly ridiculed by a large percentage of the nation, she has one of the highest grossing albums of the 2000s. Not bad for someone who shot to fame on a naff TV show.

Michael Palin is another amongst many others. He actually studied privately at Shrewsbury School near our town centre. Great education and an all round great guy.

I could be here til the early hours of the morning simply writing about all these people who have done so well despite their social boundaries which ASD causes.

Here is just a small list of further people with ASD:
Craig Nicolls of Australian band The Vine
Paddy Considine actor in such films as Hot Fuzz
Clay Marzo professional surfer, regarded as one of the greatest ever
James Durbin an American idol sensation.

I would love to see the people who ridicule me for doing this blog and who bullied me take the mic out of those people. All successful and all have ASD. I’m not claiming that I want to be famous, I’m simply saying that autistic people can go just as far in life as “normal” people.
So until tomorrow, have a great evening,
AR

This week

So the week of work is over:) hallelujah!:) 2 days off, 1 of which I’m doing media work which is always something to smile about. More hours at work next week so more £££ at the end of the month.
The weeks not been too bad other than the early starts and anxiety of walking to work in the dark with no street lights on. Finally feel settled at work and enjoy the people who I’m surrounded by to the extent where I may be talking a bit too much!:)
I always said from the beginning that the purpose of this blog was to reach out to fellow autistic people and learn alot more about myself. For me this is an escape from everything in my life. Just putting things out there has helped me a lot. Slowly but surely I’m getting more visitors to my blog. The numbers has hit 232 across the week!:) Not too bad considering it’s only just started.
Something a friend told me last night was to volunteer at somewhere like Severnside school in Shrewsbury. As reluctant as I was to go agree with him at first, I believe he may have a point. That is certainly something he doesn’t always have!:) I’m determined as ever to succeed in life and give my potential family a brilliant life. I’m clearly not taking the orthodox pathway to teaching but there are many ways to do things these days so I will find a way.
Fair to say I’m shattered at present even though it’s pretty early in the evening. Hopefully my body will actually let me sleep beyond 5am in the morning, something I don’t do very often these days. The one positive of starting so early is that I get things done much more efficiently as there isn’t many people round to distract me.
So with this week over and more hours on top next week, I can feel I will be in this position next week. Dads on the mend which is brilliant to see. To be able to hug him when I want to is a great feeling. The battle is far from over but there is slow but steady improvement in his health which is a big relief and a massive positive.
So until tomorrow when I will start to type up a new post pre match, I wish you well.
AR

Bullying

I personally was bullied on and off for 9 years. It was pretty horrible as expected and it made me attempt to take my own life! The constant fear of getting called things or physically abused. I could name the person who tortured me but it wouldn’t be fair on him. Taking the higher ground for once and pitying someone who clearly had nothing better to do that terrorise me.
I personally feel had I been able to focus solely on my gcses without this horrid distraction, I could have got better grades. Do I blame the bullies for the grades I got? No, but I do blame them for not allowing me to just crack on with them.
I will never forget 23rd January 2010. The morning of my first Geography exam in year 10. The person came into my form room along with 3 others, and verbally abused me to the point of tears. How the hell I managed to go into an exam room and get a B in an exam when I was a mess, god only knows but to believe that those people got satisfaction for the state I was in is nothing but cruel. How people can do that to anyone, astonishes me. They clearly have no remorse to the present day.
Why did I get bullied is something I constantly asked myself. Because I had glasses? Because I was too sensitive? Because I was an easy target? Because I didn’t defend myself? Plus many more questions I wanted to know the answers to. To be followed home from school one day by one of them and to be held to the ground as someone tried to break my ankle in some childish wrestling move, is something I shall never ever forget. What made it worse was that the head boy of the school and a fellow prefect, both who were my friends as well as the bully’s friend at the time. Just looked on and did nothing. The kid who was meant to lead by example both in and out of school just watched! Why?! Was he scared or was he just not wanting to get involved and do the right thing? It’s human’s duty to do what’s right and jump in whilst someone’s clearly struggling. Maybe not then!
Memories like that will never ever fade or go away. Mentally scared for life is how I feel. It makes me feel better to speak about it to be honest as it gets the message out that bullies can ruin lives.
I hope those bullies see this and understand how messed up I was made to feel. To be ridiculed and made to feel utterly useless. People who simply looked on or did nothing are just as bad in my view as to be a human to me means to stand up for what’s morally right.
So until the next entry,
AR

My dad

As the people who I hold dear to me will know, just before Christmas my dad who was 47 at the time, sadly was diagnosed with cancer. It’s fair to say this hit all my family hard. The word cancer can send shivers down many spines. To think someone I care about so much, to be so ill, is the worst feeling possible. On NYE 2014 I bumped into Mitch Reece. Mitch is someone I’ve known for years and is one of my childhood friends whom I will always keep in contact with. We happened to be walking past each other when I burst into tears due to the fear of losing my dad. It’s fair to say I was an utter mess and I’m not one to show emotions. He gave me a hug at the time I desperately needed one. With out a doubt he changed my out look on my dad’s situation and I will for ever appreciate it. So Mitch if you ever read this, thankyou so much mate, it means a lot.
He found out on the 8th December and by the 5th January, his chemo had started. 5 days of chemo and the side effects had kicked in. Sadly on the 9th January, he was taken to hospital as his temperature was well into the 40 . something. A sleepless night followed for us all as expected which was then extended into a week of sleepless nights. Personally speaking to dad most evenings gave me a great sense of happiness but it was still difficult to go about my regular life knowing that he was lying in a hospital bed.
Personally due to my ASD I take my emotions out through anger. It’s sadly the way I am and has caused thousands of arguments for me and my family. I can be taught different ways to deal with things but sometimes all that doesn’t really help. Crying for a while after each phone call was horrible. I thought I had to be strong for mum and my sister, when in reality they were being the strong ones for me! Without them 2 people I’d have been lost recently.
Work have been pretty supportive to me, allowing me time to myself when I need a minute or 2 to calm down when I was upset, as well as allowing me to have phone on me incase anything suddenly happened with dad. Also there has been a couple of people who have been amazing in supporting me. Joanne, Shaun and Bish just to name a few 🙂 The battle is far from over but hopefully come March, we will be celebrating dad being in remission.
So until the battle is over, I will be there more than ever and make dad proud no matter what the out come may be.
Until next time,
AR

Ambitions

Growing up I’m sure everyone has ambitions which are adjusted for many reasons whether it be a change of heart or in my position, medical issues. The percentage of autistic teachers is very small which means the chance of me achieving my goal will be a lot lower than the “normal” people.
Before I was bullied it always wanted to be a optician or F1 driver due to my first hero being the Ferrari supremo Michael Schumacher and at which point I would like to say I hope he pulls through his terrible accident of 2013. Seems along time ago and he’s missed a whole year of his life already with him being in a coma.
When I was bullied my aspirations changed regularly between 3 things.
1, chef
2, writer
3, footballer
I grew up wanting to be a chef due to my mum being a terrific cook who’s been in the catering industry for 30 years on and off. The writer side of me crept in when I discovered a passion for writing poetry which I still do to the present day. I feel it gives me an escape which is invaluable when I’m struggling. Finally a footballer due to me forcing myself to like it as previously mentioned in other posts. Let’s be clear, I wasn’t any good at it hence why I played rugby but sometimes in life you make yourself believe something soo much, it’s almost like it’s truly real.
I’ve always dreamed of being on TV in some capacity and last night it came true. BT Sports Rugby Tonight tweeted to ask people to send in questions for their guests for the evenings show. Me being the prat I am, sent in a question for the Vunipola bros to have an arm wrestle. So I wake up the following morning,(yesterday) and go to check twitter and it’s happened!!:) England great Austin Healey read my name out live on TV!:) To make it even better, my question and twitter name was put out on TV, I have since gained more followers whilst giving the public something we have all longed to see!:) https://twitter.com/btsportrugby/status/557276700929581056 check out the link for my moment in the spot light:)
I now see my ambitions much more clearly. I aim to study sport education at uni and then eventually be a PE teacher:) I know it won’t be easy to achieve it and I will battle my demons numerous times but with the current support set up around me, I know me fears will be conquered.

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AR

Week ahead

So after a good weekend, work beckons me come Monday morning. The itinerary for the week is as follows:
Monday 6am-10am
Tuesday 1pm-4pm, My only lie in of the week!!
Wednesday 6am-12pm
Thursday 6am-10am
Friday 6am-10am
Saturday Media work 2pm-5pm
Sunday Refereeing 2 games
So 4 early starts with getting up at 5am!! Not looking forward to that. Plenty of cash to be earned so the pay packet should be nice come end of month. Also straight after work I will head to the gym to get fitness up and get back into the shape I want/need to be in. My new inspiration of my life is my dad. For him to be battling so bravely against his cancer is so inspiring to see. It’s been a horrible week and to have the support of brilliant people such as Jack and Leon has been invaluable . These 2 lads have been there for me soo much recently amongst others.
So with my alarm set for 5am Mondaŷ morning, an early night is in the offing. Breakfast is already made with my smoothie and glucose sachet already mixed, with lunch also ready. I suppose getting work done so early can only be a good thing as I still have the majority of the day to myself to do what I want which can’t be a bad thing surely?
Personally I still feel incredibly blessed to have my dad home and it’s made me appreciate him so much more. One thing for sure is that is made me realise how much I need him and care about him.
Monday itinerary:
Work, bed, gym, lunch, collect phone, cook tea and prep breakfast and the following day’s lunch then chill 🙂 each day I try to also look on the autism forums etc which I seek confidence in as it makes me feel more “normal”.
To be honest I hate that word with a passion as who is actually normal these days?
So Monday is done:) 1 day down 4 to go!:)
Work went surprisingly quick which is always good but by god it was tiring.
Gym was rather intimidating. To see blokes 5 times the size of me lifting shit loads make me feel very awkward as you can well expect. My anxiety then stepped in and unfortunately I stuck to cardio:/. But it was worth the effort and with consistent effort the goal I’ve set myself will be achieved.
AR

Media work

As a Shrewsbury fan who’s fascinated about sport in general in particular football, when I got a job for a company called RunningBall who base me at STFC matches, I was over the moon. Autistic people usually are incredibly interested in a specific topic whether it be sport, gaming, sci fi or animals just to name a few. For years growing up, I wasn’t interested in football until I was 7/8. I started to like it due to being bullied for not liking it and soon enough something I forced myself to like is now a major focus of my life. My sister picked up on this due to her knowledge as previously mentioned in post 1.

So onto the media side, on Shrewsbury home match days, I work in the media section. I feel incredibly privileged to be in this position. The last home game, Salop V Wycombe I was lucky enough to have a chat with the Wycombe gaffer, Gareth Ainsworth, Mark Clemit aka clem from the football league show and finally Mark Clattenburg, the Fifa and premier league referee!:) For a young referee such as myself, to meet him was an honour and should he ever see this, I honestly appreciated it.

So on to today’s game v Hartlepool who are struggling at the wrong end of the league. Now managed by Ronnie Moore who is a character who splits opinions due to his suspension from football for a betting scandal, they have started to show some promise and potential! Potential banana skin? Very much so!

My match day routine is very strict as I don’t like change, like many autistic people. Pre match stuff is always completed the night before with my match day equipment always being fully charged for the match. To get there for 1:45 I always like to leave at 1:30 at the very latest! I always sign in and then go and see a friend for a bit. Calms me down and takes my mind off the fact I am now stuck in here til 5! I always sit in seat 24 row N in the media box. Always have done and always will do. To the left of me is ex derby player John Barton, who is an utter gentleman!:)

On to the game, I input the live data into a little PDA who is then fed back yo HQ. Due to me only being in this job for around 6 months, mistakes still creep in unfortunately and I take them quite badly as who actually likes to make mistakes?

So arrived at the meadow at 1:45 with the brilliant news that my dad is coming out if hospital. It’s fair to say the weeks been pretty crap with not having him around at home!

Surprisingly we have made a new signing in Connor Randall. Don’t know anything about him at all but hey no, he makes the bench:) Other than that, no surprises. For once the pitch isn’t looking too great even though we have brilliantly groundsmen here. We unfortunately have a pitch that digs up easily and due to the winter effect, the pitch has taken a bit of a beating.So a 3pm kick off against a team fighting for survival and we have a brilliant home record. 3 points should be with us come 5pm!:)

So as expected the result which most people predicted came through!:) A 3 nil win but it wasn’t all that easy. The first half was incredibly even and I admire how Hartlepool came and actually attacked us, which is something not many teams actually do when they come to the meadow! 0-0 at half time and 6-6 on corners whilst Shrewsbury only had 1 more shot in the first half then their away counterparts! The 2nd half was a completely different story though. Shrewsbury took the bull by the horns and dominated the game with some fantastic football. They took the lead when Andy Mangan scored a superb solo goal! Soon after Collins played a 1-2 with Mangan which allowed Collins to smash home a brilliant goal! The 3rd and final goal came from a cross whipped in by Mickey D and Mangan glancing header made it 3-0!:) Akpa Akpro had a brilliant chance to make it 4-0 late on which he spurned.

All in all a great game of football in which Shrewsbury showed their class!!
For once my anxiety which I get from my Aspergers/autism didn’t effect me much. This is something I continue to battle and I’m sure I will always be ok with it all.

It was a great day all in all with dad coming home and salop winning convincingly. I personally believe if Hartlepool play like they did I’m the first half, they will have no issues in staying up. They did themselves proud as did the 142 travelling fans who came all the way from there. Lots of respect to those guys.
Will take a few days off from posting now, so until the next one,take care,
AR

A bit about me

Growing up, I was always classed as a quiet child at school yet when I got home I was a misbehaved troubled child for my family. I did things which I regret but who doesn’t? My school life wasn’t great, yes I achieved good grades for my gcses but throughout both senior school and primary school I was severely bullied and beaten up, aswell as constistently insulted and scared to leave my house in the morning.

I was 14 when I discovered refereeing and for me it gave me an escape. I played rugby for a long time and briefly played Sunday league football aswell as starting off my refereeing venture. To be in charge of something whilst being involved in a sport I love was brilliant. From this I have since gone onto to referee the england indoor sides in able bodied, blind, cerebal palsy and partially sighted.  I don’t believe that for someone of such a young age as myself who had no confidence, I’ve done too badly.

On to the autism, for years i was classed as “sensitive” or “weird” and that didn’t give me any answers at all. Councelling from the age of 12 didn’t really help until I changed to someone called Vince when I was 17 and he changed my life dramatically. I can’t speak highly enough of him to be honest. Whilst I was at sixth form I struggled with a lot of things, particularly with nerves hence why it was then diagnosed with social anxiety. Not one to argue, I took that answer and moved on even though I wasn’t fully happy with it!

A year later and I started a new college, was the support there? Not really unfortunately as they were trying to help me with an issue I didn’t have. My attendance as you could well imagine was pretty poor due to my issues which lead me to leave college yet again. Yea, fair to say my parents wernt too happy!!:)

6 months of not doing much with my life due to feeling very sorry for myself and going through depression and 3 attempts to take my own life, made me realise what’s really important to me. Family, sport and friends in that order. Soon enough I got myself an apprenticeship and all I can really say is, it wasn’t great and there wasn’t a great deal of support there for me from them.Moving on and after a few months of volunteering, I began to help out with a football side and a new job came along, Soon enough a second job came along too which was brilliant!:)

So you may be thinking where does autism come into this?!:) Well with my sister studying her masters in psychology at the 3rd best uni in the country, she recommended I was tested for it through what’s she’s learnt over the 3 years of her being there. As reluctant as I was to get tested and diagnosed due to the stigma of autism, I agreed to get assessed for it. My parents paid for this to be done privately and soon enough I was diagnosed with ASD, autistic spectrum disorder. So the journey to accepting it began, took me ages in truth and now I believe I’m a stronger person for having it.

Refereeing is now going good and so is coaching, along with holding down 2 jobs and volunteering for prostate cancer. If someone said to me I would be in this position 12 months ago, I would have bitten their arm off.

People may think that referees with autism can’t get anywhere in sport but I’m determined to prove I can be different. This blog page will just journal my refereeing games, my coaching and my general struggles. I hope that other autistic people will read this and give them a positive outlook on life and know that they to can get through the good and bad times which I know we all get. We may deal with it differently but we are all human and everyone makes mistakes in life.

My sign off for all my articles will simply be this: AR (Autistic referee)
So on that basis and until next week, have a positive few days,
AR