We’re very proud that our volunteer Community Correspondent Helen has set up her own business supporting other autistic people with their lives and wellbeing.
We caught up to ask her a few questions about it.
What’s the start up for?
The tagline of Douglas Mentoring is: Because, I understand neuro-diversity. And I do. I am a 48 years old autistic woman. I have a history of childhood trauma and I’ve navigated depression since my mid-teens. After stepping away from a career in forensic science, I’ve been fascinated by human connection.
Why did you set it up?
With more and more adults, and women in particular receiving their diagnosis later in life, its not uncommon for relationships to suffer, and for marriages to break down. Its not unusual for autistic people to bounce in and out of employment, and indeed for us to under-achieve across all aspects of our lives. Which is fine is that’s an informed choice. I’m not suggesting everyone should be a fighter-pilot. My work is about helping others to achieve what they want to achieve. I like to think that I empower and encourage, but in a compassionately supportive and gentle way.
Who might it be useful for?
In addition to one-off sessions, I also offer open-ended mentoring with sessions scheduled at regular intervals to suit the client. That might be weekly, monthly or quarterly – I am totally flexible and completely open to all ways of working.
What difference do you think it would have made to you to have something like this available?
Likewise, to have had a mentor or positive role model growing up would have been hugely beneficial. It would have helped to have known I wasn’t a freak or a total misfit and that there was a place for me in the world where I could lead a happy, productive life.
5. Why is it important that you are autistic?
Being autistic can be incredibly challenging. Living and/or working with someone on the autistic spectrum can be hard too but it can also be a beautiful, rewarding experience.