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HSDC student shares story for World Autism Acceptance Week

March 30, 2022

We're supporting World Autism Acceptance Week

HSDC is supporting World Autism Acceptance Week to educate people on autism and celebrate members of our community who have autism.

Pioneered by the National Autistic Society, World Autism Acceptance Week is taking place from 28 March to 3 April to raise awareness of autism spectrum disorder.

Autism is not an illness, it just means that an individual’s brain works in a different way and, like everyone, people with autism have things they’re good at as well as things they struggle with.

Approximately 700,000 adults and children in the UK have autism, however according to the National Autistic Society just 22% of people with autism are in employment.

HSDC offers Supported Internships for learners aged 16 to 24 who have additional support needs including autism, where young people take part in work placements to gain employment skills while attending college one day per week.

Dan Tippett is currently attending HSDC South Downs as part of the Supported Internship scheme, while he works at the University of Portsmouth Library. 

Dan Tippett

Dan Tippett

Dan has autism, which can affect his anxiety levels and social skills while also allowing him to have a unique perspective on things.

For World Autism Acceptance Week, Dan has shared how he has found the Supported Internship, as well as some information about how he experiences autism.


Where have you been working during your Supported Internship and what have you enjoyed about it?

I have been working at the University of Portsmouth Library for a while, just off the back from working down at Game Over in Old Portsmouth, and I have personally enjoyed how quiet it is, which works best for me as I enjoy quiet environments. 

Another thing I enjoy about the internship is that I never feel too overwhelmed by everything, as my employer makes sure I understand everything that I will be doing during my shifts. I have also been supported at my work placement via a Job Coach which has helped me a lot.


What are your plans for the future?

Currently, my plan for my future is to go to university (which I have already accepted an offer for) and learn Game Design, as that is my dream job and something I personally enjoy a lot, as I am an avid gamer and would love to make games that other people in the world could enjoy!


As it is Autism Acceptance Week, could you please explain how autism affects your life?

For me, autism affects my life in terms of how I think, as I tend to not understand instructions unless it’s told to me slowly and clearly. Another thing that affects me with my autism is that I have a hard time making choices without knowing what either choice entails. 

Autism also affects me socially, as I tend to have a hard time saying what I want to say and will need time to form the sentence I want to say, especially around people I don’t know too well. Finally, one last thing with my autism is that it can make me feel more stressed as I tend to worry quite a lot.


What would you want to say to people to explain more about autism for those who don’t understand it or know much about it?

For those who don’t really understand autism or know much about it, all I have to say is to simply think of it like this, think of our brains as a neatly sorted system of wires, transporting our thoughts via a set system of wires. All autism does is simply use a different system of wires to achieve the same output.


Are there positives to having autism and what are these?

The positives of autism are, in my eyes at least, that you have a more unique point of view on everything, meaning that for things like game design or art, you can create things that no one has ever thought of! 

Another positive that I see is that since you think differently, you can come up with creative solutions to problems, which really does help in a workplace environment in all honesty.


Find out more about Supported Internships.