Is this my last video before December? Oh my god, it’s nearly Christmas! Hey everyone, it’s Katy, and welcome back to my channel and welcome back to yet another Friday, Q&A. This is where I take the questions that you guys have asked me and I answer them in a video. But it has been so long since I’ve done a Friday Q&A that I needed to sit and film one and hopefully I can get around to filming another Q&A before the end of 2018 so if you have any nice kind of reflective questions or questions about the year that you would like to ask me it’d be really a good time to get them in so that we can kind of close the year with a really awesome Q&A but shall we get into today’s questions because I have had a load of really awesome questions and I am hoping it to power through as many as possible today. Do you think you would have been employed in your first job had you disclosed your ASD? That is a good question and obviously one that I cannot answer fully, I would like to hope that they were decent enough human beings to see past my autism and know that I was a good candidate for the role because I think I turned out to be a really, really good person to be hired and a good person for that role. The role itself was actually really good for autistic traits because it was very repetitive, the weekly structure never changed so I knew exactly what I was doing on a Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday because the clinics would always stay the same. I worked in a hospital at my first job, there’ll be a video all about that up by here if you want to go check it out but if you haven’t seen that, I did hospital work. So yeah, it was really quite autism friendly so if I had been discriminated against I think they would have lost out on quite a good candidate and that’s not me like really blowing my own trumpet but I think it was a really good role for an autistic person. I don’t know do we ever fully really know when we’re being discriminated against? Like, before that interview, before that job, I was interviewed for another like four or five different roles. Obviously didn’t get them. Was that because I was a bad candidate for the role or was that because I had autism? Or was up because that I ticked that I was disabled like… But yeah do we ever fully know the extent of the discrimination within our society, especially in the workplace when you know they can just give you another stupid excuse as to why you weren’t employed or they don’t even have to tell you why they didn’t employ you they’re just like yeah, sorry, you weren’t the right person for the job. Tricky one, tricky one. I’d like to think that I would have still got that role, but I guess you never know. Have you ever experienced body image issues and have you ever suffered from an eating disorder? No, I haven’t really experienced either I don’t think and that’s not me sitting here being like I love my body, it’s perfect woohoo, because I’m still human at the end of the day, there are bits of my body that I don’t like. Not necessarily things that I would change because I’m scared of plastic surgery and surgery in general and general anaesthetic so I think my fear kind of trumps my insecurities, but… (sigh) I have done a video about my relationship with food and how that has progressed throughout my life which I’ll leave in a card up by here if you want to go and check that out. But in terms of body image issues, I’ve always been fairly happy with the way that my body is despite the fact that other people around me are telling me that it looks unhealthy. It sort of ebbs and flows, there are times where I’m a little bit knocked with my confidence. If someone’s said something to me or if I’ve you know seen something and it’s sort of like oh god, that’s a bit jarring. Or if I’ve lost weight or anything like that. I get quite self-conscious of that but it’s most of the time I’m pretty happy in my own skin and I’m very appreciative of that because as a female in my twenties I know that that is a rarity and I’m very pleased and grateful that I am at that point where I’m happy with my body. In terms of have I ever had an eating disorder: no, I haven’t despite the fact that lots of people have told me that I am anorexic or have told me that I have an eating disorder because of the way that I look or the way that I eat and it’s not the case. I have had a bumpy relationship with food but that’s more for sensory issues and my emetophobia, which are two things that aren’t really classically linked to eating disorders – anorexia, bulimia. I just sort of kind of – oh there’s a fly… Bye! I always try to explain this and I never feel like I’m explaining myself fully or in the best way but despite the fact that I’ve never had an eating disorder, I am really scared of them. I’m really scared of developing one because I was constantly told that I had one throughout my life, I’m still getting told that I have one. I don’t ordinarily care what people think about me but there’s one thing that I can’t stand and I can’t get over and I can’t process and that is someone thinking that I have an eating disorder. I feel like every person who accuses me of having an eating disorder I just have to sit down with and explain all of the reasons why I don’t and justify myself to them because it really scares me when people think that I do have an eating disorder. I could honestly go on about this topic all day. Maybe I could do a whole video about it at some point let me know if you want to see that in the comment section but I don’t know, it’s sort of like, it’s all a bit of a mess in my head and it doesn’t really make logical sense and I often feel like when I tell people that I have a fear of developing eating disorders and that I constantly feel the need to prove to others that I don’t have an eating disorder, I worry that they’re looking at me and being like oh well you’re trying too hard to convince yourself that you don’t actually have an eating disorder when you do and then I get really freaked then, because I’m like no I definitely don’t and this isn’t me trying to prove anything to myself is trying to prove things to you guys and it’s just, oh… My brain is just really, really messed up sometimes. Was there ever a fictional character, whether it be from a TV show, book, or movie, that you’ve thought exhibited autistic traits, but was not explicitly autistic in the work itself? That is a really fun question and I feel like that is one that lots of people will want to get involved with in the comment section so be sure to give us all your answers in the comments to this question. For me it is Eleanor from Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, the book that came out earlier this year I believe, it’s a best seller. I’ll put a little photo of it by here, you’ve probably seen it on Amazon or in bookstores because it’s hugely, hugely popular and with good reason it is a very, very good book. I really feel like Eleanor displayed so many autistic traits that I really related to in terms of her inability to really understand social etiquette, the way that she approached social situations, her humour, and just how she just very cringely went through life and I could laugh and cringe with her from experience. But I am so, so glad that the author didn’t create an autistic character within this story because I feel like if Eleanor was explicitly autistic and was kind of made out to have autism in the book, I feel like a lot of people would have got the wrong end of the stick because without giving too much away Eleanor had a very tragic and traumatic childhood and I feel like a lot of people reading the book would kind of put two and two together very incorrectly and assume that the tragedy, the trauma, bad parenting, her upbringing, caused her autism and I feel like a lot of people would have got the wrong end of the stick. So I’m very glad that they didn’t go down that route but I definitely think she had a lot of autistic traits and I really loved the book. I would recommend it to anybody. I’ll leave it in a link in the description if you want to check it out. It is great. Have it as a Christmas present! It’s so good. Treat yourself, treat yourself to a nice book this Christmas because it’s a great one. Do you find that special interests are helpful in your professional pursuit? Yes, I do and I’ve spoken about this a couple of times on my channel, but I do really feel like the jobs that I’ve had over the years and by jobs, I mean two, and by over the years, I mean three years but I do feel like I wouldn’t have been able to do either of the jobs that I’ve done in my life as successfully if I didn’t have a special interest in the field that I worked in. When I started working in the cancer hospital, I developed a very massive interest in chemotherapy, which was obviously the area that I was working in and I feel like that’s kind of the case for a lot of autistic people. You kind of just fall into it in many respects. I know of a lot of people who have special interests who never set out to fully work within that area of special interest but have either created a special interest from the field of work that they were in or they managed to create a job within the world of their special interest so it kind of works in both ways and I’ve seen it work in both ways. I didn’t have a special interest in cancer treatment and chemotherapy until I got into that job, and then I was able to kind of really push forward with that role because I started to learn more and really get interested in it and really kind of put my all into it but also I have had an experience where my passion of autism and my special interest of disability equality and awareness has created a job for me. So I’ve had both experiences and I feel like a lot of autistic people, people with special interests can relate to one or both of these experiences because I feel like in many ways that is how we are able to cope and function and work in this world. We kind of create our own world of special interests and we are able to kind of motivate ourselves and push ourselves because we have such an interest in this area and it allows us to see past some of the difficulties that work can sometimes bring us and it enables us to kind of thrive in that environment. I noticed that you wear a lot of earrings and rings in your videos. I can’t tolerate jewellery at all. Do you know if this is common for those on the spectrum? I think it’s usually common for those on the spectrum to not be able to tolerate jewellery or certain accessories and it’s been something that I’ve gone like back and forth with, up and down and I… I don’t know. I think in many ways I do tolerate jewellery quite well as an autistic person. But I guess it kind of goes back to the last question really because I never used to wear rings and the first ring that I got like properly that I chose that was a little bit more expensive that was a proper you know, jeweller’s kind of ring. It was when I was 16 and I’d finished my GCSEs so it had more of like a symbolic meaning and then ever since then all of the rings that I have and that I wear every single day, they have meanings to me. I bought them at certain times in my life like after my A-levels, my first paycheck, my birthday, so they all have like little meanings and little kind of times in my life. They’re almost like tattoos to me, they have very like, they kind of are snapshots in time to that point in my life that I bought them and they became a special interest of mine, they became an area that I was hugely passionate about, all of my rings are Welsh gold and they all come from the same store and I like get really excited and very passionate about them and they are a huge area of love of mine. So maybe that is because it’s a special interest of mine in many respects that I’m able to tolerate them. But it did take me a very long time to tolerate rings and if ever I get a ring on a new finger, it takes me a good few weeks to get used to it but because I never take these off yeah, I’m used to them they’re kind of a part of my body now. They are literally like tattoos in my eyes because they just literally come with me but I know that also a lot of you kind of look at it from the other angle a lot of people with autism and sensory issues enjoy having them to fidget with and to kind of I don’t know but, stim with in many respects so it can work both ways, a lot of people really rely heavily on jewellery, other people cannot tolerate it. It’s just another beautiful part of the spectrum and how we’re all very different. And final question for today is do you believe that autism is the next stage in human evolution? Great question! I would love to believe that, every time I see this on social media or in things that I read, I get a little bit of a boost not gonna lie, because I’d love to be able to go around and be like yeah, I’m more evolved than you but obviously I don’t do that because that would be really annoying. But yeah, I do kind of get a little bit of a boost when people say that and that is really because I am hugely passionate about advocating the positives of being autistic. A lot of people feel like in order to spread awareness of autism and to get the message across they have to tell everyone where we struggle and the deficits that we have in our life and why we can’t do things and the things that we can’t do and it’s all “can’t” and “don’t” and “struggle with”. We need to balance it with the things that we can do, the things that we’re really good at, the things that we’re maybe better than average at, and the things that we bring to this world. I don’t know. I don’t know. I just got kind of a kick out of being complimented for autistic traits and almost feeling like people are going yeah take the flame, take this human race and move it forward and I’m like I volunteer I will do that for you. You know, it’s I don’t know. It’s a good feeling. I’m not sure if I hugely believe it. I would love to, um, I think it’s a lovely thing to say and to read as an autistic person but let me know what you guys think about this. That’s a really good topic of conversation to end on. Let me know in the comments below. Do you think that autism is the next stage of human evolution? So there we have it thank you so much to everybody who asked amazing questions I know I still have a lot of questions to go through but feel free if you want to, to add to that pile and comment any questions below if you have any or if you have any that would make for a really good end of year Christmassy Q&A feel free to pop them in the comment section. Let me know if you’ve enjoyed this video by giving it a big, big thumbs up. I hope you’ve had a really, really good day, and I will see you soon. Bye guys!