Screen-shot-2014-04-23-at-5.17.49-PM-550x400_cBy: Tara Kimberley Torme

On December 3rd we celebrated

International Day for Person’s with a Disability.
Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Right’s of Person’s with a Disability is about raising awareness and combatting stereotypes and prejudices about people with disabilities.
It is important to me to bring as much awareness as possible to Asperger Syndrome, because too many people have views that we are more disabled than we really are.

They do not even give us the chance to prove ourselves. People hear the word ‘Asperger Syndrome’ and ‘Autism’ and they think

the worst outcomes for us – thinking it to be a death sentence rather than just a different way of viewing the world.

If it weren’t for Autism, there would be no Mozart, Einstein or other geniuses who thought differently and dared to dream outside the box.

People like me who live with labels like Asperger’s have goals and dreams just like everyone else.
I grew up in Montreal. What I remember most as a young child was my love of reading, writing and theater.

I loved watching live plays and musicals, wishing I were one of the characters on stage. I dreamed of becoming a world famous author – a dream I still have today.

I always loved school right up to graduating from UBC with an English degree. I really wanted to be an English teacher.

Today I live with my mom in Vancouver. I work part-time as an office assistant for Community Living BC. I love the Opera and volunteer there at every production.

I also like to do embroidery and am a member of the Vancouver Guild of Embroiderers.
What the world needs to know is that people with Autism or Asperger’s are just like everyone else, except we are wired differently. In fact, we see, hear, feel and understand more than most people give us credit for.

But, we do not get the same opportunities as other people because we behave differently. For this reason we have to continue to educate society about the true facts about Asperger Syndrome.

I would love to present to police, first responders, psychiatrists and medical doctors about how to best engage with individuals with Asperger Syndrome.

Professionals may be somewhat aware of what it is, but most of them do not understand us beyond the stereotypical views.

I am most passionate about presenting on employment. It’s important for those with decision making power to know how we are treated and the lack of support when trying to get a job.

Work placement agencies are too focused on providing unpaid volunteer experiences or part-time work without benefits.

Frequently, during these work experiences, our ‘employers’ only see us for our disability and do not treat us like regular employees.

I would like to see people with ASD being treated as equals and given the same opportunities as everyone else.

We need full time jobs so that we can live normal lives. Too often we are under employed or unemployed.

In five years I would like to see myself working full time and having a regular vacation so I can travel and have enough money to save for retirement. Isn’t that what most people want?

 

Tara Kimberley Torme