Turning your special interest into a career.

Even for those without aspergers; gaining employment in an area that excites and interests you is the goal of most. 

Students take subjects at school in the areas that interest them whether it be woodwork or early childhood studies. They may even complete work experience or apprenticeships in a certain area.

As an adult we look for work that makes getting up in the morning bearable.

Many with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) from a young age have a fixation on a certain interest area whether it be lego, dinosaurs etc. 

Under the DSM- 5 (diagnostic manual) the second requirement for a diagnosis of ASD states “fixated interests and repetitve behaviour”

For me it is quite possible to have an hour long, one sided conversations on my favourite topics such as circus, theatre and gymnastics.

  
How then do we turn such an interest into something we do every day?

After seeing a circus with my family as a child and developing an interest, I started off gaining experience helping with Ashton Circus whenever they were in town. My first job was to collect tickets on the door. As time went on I learnt how to put up and pull down the bigtop, work in the canteen and work backstage. 

  
My interest areas within the performance are plate spinning and clowning. I have had the pleasure of learning from the best in the industry within these fields.
  I have also gained skills such as communication through teaching children and adults circus skills under the guidance of my mentor and friend Tanya Falagan, a 6th generation circus performer.

Over the years I have worked with Gymnastics QLD at competitions predominately in the areas of Artistic and Rhythmic gymnastics. 

I first began straight out of school and was blessed to have very understanding, beautiful people working alongside me. We quickly pinpointed my interest of organising things and mathematics. 

This in turn meant for hours I would organise run sheets, music, writing out penants and organising the medal presentations. In 2012 I was honoured to be part of the team to organise the medals at the Australian gymnastics championships. 

  
Whenever I visit a competition these days this is where I fall straight back into.

My third special interest area as many know is theatre. I saw my first show at the age of thirteen and have been in love ever since. 

Through rigourous planning and friends who watch out for me, I have been able to travel throughout Australia to attend many performances at theatres around the country.

   

In 2013 I wrote my first theatre review (all 7 pages of it) . Though it wasn’t until sharing a piece of writing with Tanya who encouraged me to attend creative writing classes with her that I was able to really develop my passion for writing.

These days I write poetry for friends events such as birthdays, shows that are opening and closing and our circus events.

In 2016, I began to write a play which is still very much in the development and brainstorming stage. 

Through the theatre I have had the honour of joining Sydney theatre group The GLUGS and most recently I have been offered the chance to write a weekly column for TheatrePeople, an Australian online theatre publication.

  
Through circus, gymnastics and theatre as well as sport and girl guides I have gained the confidence and ability to become who I am. 

However I could not have done it without the love, support and slight nudges of my family; My mum, dad, brothers and sister in law. 

  
If you are looking to turn your special interest into a career here are 10 helpful hints:
– work out what your special interest is

– do research on jobs in the field you want to go into

-learn about people already in that area

– gain work experience

-volunteer in your chosen field 

-ask someone in the area to mentor you

-have loving and understanding people around to support you especially in those hard times but also celebrate the good times with you.

-don’t underestimate yourself

– just because you get knocked back doesn’t mean it is the end of the world.

-always develop your skills even when you are where you want to be

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