Working at PAS - Hannah's Story
My name is Hannah Anderson and you may recognise my friendly (I hope) face from the PAS Activities Team.
Many of you reading this will be unaware that I have Autism. This has a huge impact on my day-to-day life, but to the vast majority of people, this isn’t obvious.
I wasn’t diagnosed with Autism until just after my 17th birthday during a long-term hospital admission. At first, I had no idea what was happening and I didn’t even know what autism was. In-fact, I was very adamant that I didn’t have autism. However, as I learnt and read more about it, everything began to make sense. I now understood why I had found it more difficult to make friends, cope with change, found school extremely challenging and struggled to understand and control my own emotions.
I have managed to built up a good set of coping strategies that help me to feel relaxed, calm and safe. These include going for walks, listening to relaxing music and doing some other form of exercise. This helps me to keep busy but allows my mind to focus on something else!
I have always worked with children and young people, albeit in a sports environment, since I was a young teenager. The idea of working with a charity that specialised in supporting young people with autism really interested me. I wanted to try and use my own personal experiences and skills to support young people.
Working at PAS, whilst being on the spectrum is certainly interesting and great fun. I think it is fair to say I have had my fair share of high emotions and stress but I am so lucky to have a fantastic team working with me and a brilliant manager in Teri, who is always on hand and keeps me on track.
My favourite part of my job is definitely working with the young people. I learn so much from them and they never fail to amaze me.
If I had received my diagnoses, I would have loved to access a service like PAS. I was very lucky that I was part of Stonehaven Tennis Club which gave me the most amazing social outlet. Somewhere like PAS would have allowed me to come somewhere else where I wouldn’t have been judged and frowned upon. I would have been able to talk to staff about how I was feeling rather than bottling it up until I couldn’t cope anymore. It would have been somewhere where I could have smiled and laughed because I would have genuinely been happy and enjoying myself, whilst learning valuable life skills.
The most important lesson that I have learnt is learning to accept myself and learning that not everyone will accept you. As long as I am happy within myself, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. The only person that you have to impress and be proud of is yourself.