Autism Spectrum Australia

Feeling loved

  • Posted: 27/02/2014
  • Author: Thomas Kuzma
  • Comments: Loading.. .

Hello everyone, welcome to another episode of Aspire! So, what’s happening in the wide world of Tommy K? I have been working on a 6-letter story, but right now I can’t get past word 3. I can’t wait for the Academy Awards in a week’s time. It’s an interesting concept isn’t it though? People make films every year, and so many of these films are vying for a chance to be recognised and win an award. But what makes being recognised so important?

Now I could go on about how it can relate to the common man, but seeing as how this is a blog on Aspies and how we behave, it’s better for us to work off that. How does being recognised and reward ceremonies helps us Aspergians when it comes to our daily lives?

It makes us feel like our work is valued

In today’s world of struggling to get by, we might feel like cogs in a great machine, and for those on the spectrum, we may feel like the tiniest cog of them all. However the smallest of cogs move fastest. What may seem like we are working like everyone else is actually pushing the hard yards, making sure we have the right social norms and hidden rules. In the end we are exhausted and sometimes we end up asking, why? Awards tell us that it hasn’t been all in vain, that people value the work we do for the community.

It helps motivate us

Unless you have lived a life with your head in the ground, everyone has seen some kind of competition. Whether it has been at schools athletics carnival, driving to get the best car spot in the work car park or to put a costume together for a convention or party - you have faced some kind of competition. Knowing that there is a chance you could achieve a great trophy or the chance to be recognised for what you do helps you go that extra mile. Then again, I hate it when you go for the best dressed title and there’s a woman there with the same frock as you. For Aspies like me, there is nothing better than a goal to work towards. Knowing that all that I am working towards is going to pay off makes me hungry for more like a particular coyote hunting Road Runner.

It’s a chance to celebrate what’s great and to recognise those in that particular field

It could be me being an extrovert but I love celebrating. I guess it is a good thing we don’t celebrate 24/7 otherwise I would have a perpetual party hangover. When we celebrate who we are and what we do for someone who is on the autism spectrum, it helps us realise that we aren’t alone in this world. When we celebrate, it takes the stress out of everyday life. We become recognised, confident and return to the world feeling like we can grab it by the horns and ride it into the sunset! If we don’t, we may end up like Clark Griswold at Christmas time.

A Professional Opinion

To explore more about recognition I talked to Anthony Warren, who won the Professional Achievement Award in Aspect’s 2013 Recognition Awards for his work with young people with autism. He said:

“It is incredibly important for Aspergians to see recognition from other Aspergians. These people know about what most challenges are. They also know a lot about what sorts of strategies and what kinds of supports have made a difference in their lives. Even if they haven’t had the support they would have liked, that in itself is useful to share because between them they can get together and make a difference.

When I won the Recognition Award I felt enormously humbled. It was more a recognition of the work that the families do, and I always felt it was a great privilege to provide some support and some ideas to the people and lives of those who have autism and to their families. I think that the recognition is that some contribution is being made to get through to better outcomes; it was satisfying to know that together we have had successes and overcome challenges.

When it comes to the community, we need to do a lot more to recognise that people on the autism spectrum need a fair go.

There is more to be done for people on the spectrum when they are kids. We can do this by raising the awareness in the education system, for teachers and families about this group, that early intervention and support is critical, and a lot more is needed to be done in the early years in school. They underestimate the learning/social challenges and the emotional challenges needed to be supported from an early age.

My Two Cents

What do I have to say about being recognised and receiving awards? Well to be honest, I didn’t win anything in my childhood, nor in highschool. My high school years were complete and utter hell. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed that I actually felt like I was recognised for having something. I am sure you would like me to go on about my diagnosis, but that’s a story for another blog.

I went on to graduating high school, a Cert IV and finally a Diploma in Multimedia. These achievements are all excellent, gratefully recognised and still used today. But what do we say about the more individual awards? The awards that are received by those who ‘made outstanding achievements in fields of excellence’. The first time I actually felt a complete surge in confidence was when I received the Aspect Recognition Award in April last year. Knowing that all the hard work I put in, being an advocate to Aspergians and those with autism around Australia had made an impact, I was struck with humble joy and pride. This is something that still I hold near and dear to me.

In Conclusion

I believe that it not only helps build the confidence of the people receiving an award, but it helps strengthen the community as a whole. Now we can’t give everyone an award, because as the saying goes, when everyone is special, none of us are. When we recognise people who work hard in helping those in their community; in this case on the autism spectrum, we inspire people to work harder to achieve a greater more prosperous community.

It’s not too late to value someone you know - nominate them for an Aspect National Recognition Award. Go to www.aspect.org.au/recognitionawards for details.

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Feeling loved