JC's Time on the SELF Project

JC is 18 years old and has Asperger’s Syndrome. He has been involved with Autism NI’s Skills for Staying Safe and SELF Programmes for almost 2 years. Here is what he thinks about them.

I only found out that I had Asperger’s syndrome a few years ago, so I had gone through secondary school not knowing why I was having problems. I thought it was just my ADHD.  When I was assessed and was given a diagnosis of ‘Asperger’s’, It was just another name to add to my list. I wasn’t given any support and I didn’t know how it was affecting me.

Then I started going to the Skills for Staying Safe programme on a Monday night. I enjoyed it because it was a place that I could go to that was safe and I knew that I wouldn’t get angry there. I learned some new things about myself and strategies to keep me safe. I also enjoyed helping the other boys, I made some friends and went on the radio to talk about the project.

I was really good that I could work with the same staff, one to one, when the Skills for Staying Safe Programme was over. It gave me the chance to work on my anger more. It really helped me to meet with the staff member every week as things seem to change for me a lot very quickly, so I was able to get advice.

The staff member has helped me through loads of things. Like dealing with my anger, problems with relationships and working out what I want to do with my future. He knows me well now and I trust him and know that I can talk things through with him whenever I need to.

I think it [mentoring] has helped me to grow up and take more responsibility for myself, and to think a bit more about the future and other people, rather than just doing what I want now.