Minutes of the Thirty First
Post-Diagnostic Support Group
18th July 2018
Given we are now within the holiday period the meeting was very well attended.
The speaker was Sarah Hendrickx who is the founder of Hendrickx Asssociates, a consultancy that specialises in Asperger training and coaching. Sarah is also an associate consultant attached to Axia. Sarah also has Autism Spectrum Disorder, as does her partner and some of her family.
Sarah’s presentation was DEFINING HAPPINESS FROM AN AUTISM PERSPECTIVE.
The audience were asked to define ‘happiness’ from an Autistic person’s perspective and the following was offered:
- Ken Dodd – as a giver of happiness
- Others stated that happiness is a personal thing
- Sadly others said that happiness is being free from anxiety, fear, stress and having peace of mind.
- Happiness is a temporary state.
- Feeling safe
- Having a purpose
- Being appreciated
- Control of external influences
Neuro- typical Happiness was defined as :
Having a purpose, a function/role, contentment, quality of life. Connecting positively with another living being. Sunshine, cuddles. People are key to neuro-typical happiness. Sadly, the Autism Spectrum Disorder people felt that bullying people with differences sometimes made neuro typical people happy!!
The theory of happiness is thought to be made up of 50% genetics, 10% circumstances & 40% self-determined. The audience, Autistic people were asked what makes them happy and the following was offered: being with people you love, shopping/books, being alone, holidays. They also felt they needed to have a purpose to be happy and to be doing something meaningful. Overall, it was felt that stress for “all people” needed to be reduced or controlled to create happiness.
We then discussed how important it is, to know how you feel? Emotional well being is needed to be in a happy state. Autistic people live in the here and now. They find it hard to relive memories. Sarah offered as a tool: video happy times and events to enable the feelings to be recaptured.
In conclusion Autistic happiness doesn’t depend as much on people. Autistic people can create their own form of happiness that is personal and unique, not what society says will make you happy. It may seem different to the typical person. What is clear is the need to take away fear and anxiety to enable a happy state to be achieved. Autistic people tend to cluster although as with other groups they will recognise similar traits and feel comfortable with those people.
During the question session:
Ronnie suggested we arrange a Xmas lunch which is a very good idea, as our next meeting is 29 August 2018, it is something we could start to consider.
NEXT MEETING 29 August 2018 – 12noon Crewe Lifestyle Centre
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