Jenny Carter is a self advocate. As someone who has autism, Jenny found that she was often misunderstood and not always able to get her point across in her work life and in social situations. She wanted to create a one-page profile to help her overcome these difficulties and better advocate for herself and others. This is Jenny’s story in her own words.
Written by Jenny carter
My name is Jenny Carter I am 30 years old and I have Autistic Spectrum Condition, Dyspraxia and Epilepsy. Being on the Autistic Spectrum affects me in many ways and can mean that I perceive situations and people and respond to them differently to the way one might expect. For example, in social situations I am very direct. In the past I have gotten into trouble for saying things the way I see them. As I mean no harm when I do this, it can make me feel frustrated or upset when people take it the wrong way. On the positive side, seeing things differently means that I have a unique perspective on the world and this means that I can sometimes see things before they happen!
I live with my Mum and Dad. I love athletics and was the National Junior Champion for 100 and 200 metres sprinting. I am a self advocate. This means that I speak out to help myself and others to have a voice. I am also a Partners in Policymaking Graduate. I am one of the leads for self advocacy in Wirral and a Director of Together All Are Able; a Community Interest Company supporting Self Advocates.
I created my first one- page profile myself with help from a friend and colleague, Vicky, in 2012. I wanted people to understand me and what I was saying and I thought having a one-page profile could help me to achieve this. I often felt that people would shout me down when I expressed an opinion and not ask me questions to understand what it was I was trying to say. I wanted a way of explaining to people that they needed to talk to me more before disagreeing with my points.
Helen Sanderson asked to see my first draft one-page profile and she was impressed. She said she could help me improve it so that it achieved more of what I wanted it to achieve. So in May 2013 Helen and I worked on the sections ‘what is important to me’ and ‘how best to support me’. There had been some confusion between these two points in the first draft and making sure this information is clear is very important as other people can then support you in the way that is right for you.
I use my one-page page profile mainly for work. I update it myself. I share it with the people who I am working with and the people who I am to have meetings with. Some of the other people I work with use one-page profiles too and when they do, it always makes our communication with each other so much smoother. I sometimes send my one-page profile by email before I meet someone and I also carry it on my ipad so that I can share it with people in person.
Having a one-page profile has made a big difference to me. I am listened to more now than I was before. The Directors that I work with at Together All Are Able tell me if they will be late for a meeting (as this is something that I have stated is important for me to know). It helps me to feel more in control. Because it helps me communicate more clearly and helps people to understand me easily I feel that people are more open to working with me now. There are far less situations where I feel upset or misunderstood after speaking my mind and this is a very positive outcome of my one-page profile.