Aspergability is unique in that our services are person-centred and designed specifically for people with Asperger syndrome.
Aspergability was borne out of my own search for understanding; a search which has pervaded my life for as long as I can remember. My quest for knowledge and understanding of what made me 'different' from my peers has been relentless, but for many years completely fruitless. Tripping upon the field of autism and working with a range of young people on the spectrum led me to pursue my own research and the more I read about autism and Asperger's in particular, the more I recognised traits which I myself identified with. For the first time in my life I began to gain some clarity and understanding and I could begin to view myself and my challenges with more compassion.
I also realised that alongside the things in my life that I found troublesome to say the least, I also became more aware of the skills I possessed which made certain tasks quite simple for me. I started on a new journey learning not only how to manage what I found challenging but also to make the most of my strengths.
The recognition of my differences and similarities with aspects of the autism spectrum culminated in me receiving a diagnosis of Asperger's in 2018. Some people have asked me why a diagnosis was important, but for me it gave me an explanation for the things I have always found difficult and the opportunity to exercise greater self-compassion as opposed to seeing myself as a failure. I am now on a new journey of discovery and I'm starting to realise that for me 'balance' is key to managing my Asperger's with the accompanying anxiety and enjoying greater happiness. I do not always know my limitations, what I find particularly stressful or how far I can push myself, but I am starting to gain more self-awareness and to learn what enables me to relax. This new-found self-awareness is vitally important as it allows me to recognise the times when I need some quiet time and I can develop strategies to help in every aspect of my life.
Through my own journey I realised that many people with Asperger's do not receive the support they need. I have spoken to many people who say that teachers, health professionals and employers all have little understanding of what Asperger's is, how it affects the individual and what reasonable adjustments would make a big difference to people's lives.
If you would like to find out more please contact me by email using the contact form and I will get back to you.
Sal Stapley PhD, MSc, BEd
I am a trained teacher, specialist mentor and study skills tutor for students with Asperger's and academic researcher with interests in autism spectrum conditions, primary care diagnosis and mental health.I am passionate about sharing information, not only among people with Asperger's syndrome and their families but also among teachers and trainers, employers and health professionals. I am continually working hard to develop my knowledge and learn from experts in the field and those with personal experience. I work with young people across the autism spectrum, carers and adults including those transitioning into university or work, academics, and professionals in education.
I am also a governor of a new special school for children with anxiety and communication difficulties which focuses on experiential learning. I have also been a volunteer with a trust delivering equine assisted learning for a number of years.
On a personal level I have my own diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome with over 50 years lived experience. Asperger's Syndrome was unknown back when I was a child so my difficulties remained unnoticed or ignored. There was no understanding of neurodiversity so I was labelled as academically advanced for my age but shy. Trying to cope in situations which others appeared to find easy, and in a school system which had no understanding of my preferred learning style or social interaction and communication challenges, took its toll on a daily basis. I found it exhausting trying to navigate the world without the relevant knowledge or skills surrounding my condition. My confidence plummeted along with my self-esteem. There were times when I lost all hope that things would ever improve.
If only I could have looked into the future and known then what I know now, I would have had the explanation that I searched for for so long. Knowing that there were reasons for my challenges and that they were not failings of my own making would have enabled me to see that everything would be alright and that I would develop strategies to help me fulfil my potential. If only I had had that hope back in those difficult days!
This experience has given me a deep understanding and compassion for people and families with Asperger's Syndrome. I cannot go back to my own childhood and use my professional experience when it was most needed, but I can use that knowledge and expertise to support those who need it now.