Last week, Suzanne Clark, a volunteer from the Hertfordshire brand of the National Autistic Society, spoke to Watford Community Housing residents about her experiences as a recently-diagnosed autistic adult. The talk was an opportunity for residents to learn about one person’s experience with Asperger’s syndrome, to gain awareness of the condition and to share their own experiences in an environment of safety and understanding.
After a lifetime of struggles, Suzanne Clark was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome four years ago at the age of 38. Since then, she’s become a passionate advocate for awareness of the autism spectrum, and has joined the National Autistic Society in Hertfordshire as a volunteer, speaking to audiences about how best to support, understand and recognise people with autism, whatever their age, behaviour or background.
The 12 residents who attended the talk had all been affected by autism in some way. Some had the condition themselves, and others were there in support of their children or grandchildren. As Suzanne spoke, the audience opened up, discussing how stereotypes aren’t always the truth, and how individual the experience of autism can be. Although autism is a very personal topic, the amount of openness and acceptance gave everyone the chance to discuss and learn together.
Feedback about the event was incredibly positive. One attendee said: “This has been a brilliant talk – Suzanne was very clear and able to help the audience understand the condition with clarity. It was good to hear from someone who has autism and to hear the difficulties she has faced and what she has learned. It’s very similar to my daughter, so I’m thrilled to see how she has coped.”
Another audience member commented: “I found this talk insightful, and very useful to know how to support people who have autism. I now have a better understanding of what it is like to live with the condition – thank you very much.”
Thank you to the National Autistic Society and Suzanne for providing such an enlightening talk. If you’d like to contact the NAS in Hertfordshire, you can email them for support and advice on firstname.lastname@example.org or find them on social media.
If you would like to hear a talk on something you’re affected by or want to learn more about, contact our Community Engagement team by calling 0800 2182247.