(Being With) A Friend Like Me

The joys of a neurodivergent friendship

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK, with the cost of living crisis as this year’s theme. With rising fuel bills and grocery prices, this means fewer trips to the pub, fewer chances to see friends.

What is worse than being skint is being skint and lonely. In the words of The Blues Brothers song “everybody needs somebody”, and this is true of any friendship. Whether you are neurotypical or neurodivergent, it matters.

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These Are The Fun Times: The Ten Greatest Fun Time Friday Shows

A Not So Perfect Ten Special

On the 23rd March 2020, the UK went into lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. This saw restrictions in the way we went to work, in the way we did our work, and how we saw our loved ones. Elderly people had to shield for twelve weeks; you couldn’t go anywhere that was further than an hour away. If you weren’t a key worker, you had to be furloughed.

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Be Loud, Be Proud, Be Neurodiverse (Be Heard)

A long weekend of celebrating difference in the workplace

I have just found out that last week was Neurodiversity Week (13th to 19th March 2023). It was marked by a series of virtual events celebrating people with autism spectrum conditions, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and Dyslexia. My source of information came from the Tameside Reporter, a journal which yours truly is familiar with as a sporadic reader, a contributor, and on two occasions, a job interview candidate.

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Twelve Days That Shook The World

The long awaited follow up to A Comeback Special of Sorts

Following the success of the previous article, we have a follow-up. A companion piece which covers my last two weeks following my return to work.

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A Comeback Special of Sorts

Ever wondered what the creator of this blog has been up to lately? Read this!

Dear Reader,

It has quite a while since I have posted any new and exciting content on East of the M60. We usually have one or two posts a week. In the last three weeks, we have only had one post. As yours truly and this blog prides itself on transparency, I shall explain myself.

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SV Pablo Series Two launch picture

Autism and Coming to Terms With Accepting Praise

How I checked in to my local branch of Backslappers’ Anonymous

INT. Backslappers Anonymous, Table 64 at The Ash Tree, Ashton-under-Lyne

My name is Stuart Thomas Henderson Howard John Alexander Pfeffel Anthony Charles Lynton Vallantine, and I am a success. I have written scripts for a successful TV series, produced a long-running multi-channel interactive half hour long variety spectacular, and circumnavigated Greater Manchester by bus on numerous occasions. I can remember every single track on Supertramp’s studio albums and live albums and met my partner beside a gas holder outside the Etihad Stadium…

In Dear Old Blighty, saying to yourself “yes, I am brilliant” doesn’t seem to be the British way. As the stiff upper lip is still a thing, praise can be seen as being ‘big headed’. If we praise anything to high heaven, we could be seen as having narcissistic personality disorder. If we don’t blow our own trumpet now and again, few people might have heard of our talents.

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Just 120 Hours With Stu (and Kevin)

The diary of a phenomenal week, making people smile at FD

It is said that a week is a long time in politics. It is also true that a week in the Costco petrol queue’s a long time too. From my observations on Broadway, it’s a close second to Association Football as our National Game. For Stuart, the creator of this blog and his fellow colleague at Future Directions, Kevin Phoenix, it has been a week to remember.

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Just One Hour With Stu (and Kevin)

Or: I Could Go On Speaking

Thirteen years after the last autism lecture I was involved in, it was great to be back talking about autism spectrum conditions. My last time was a support slot in a lecture with the late great Donna Williams at Middlesbrough Learning and Training Centre. Little did I know this was her final UK tour. She was tired of the travelling, the airport terminals and the passport checks.

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Generic Euphonium picture

Is the World Ready for Autie-Friendly Brass Band Concerts?

Could autie-friendly brass band concerts catch on?

If you pop in to your local supermarket or discount store, some chain stores have what is known as an ‘Autism Hour’. Each Saturday from 9am to 10am, your local Morrisons store turns off the background music. The lighting is toned down to avoid sensory overload triggers.

Some cinema chains have Autism Friendly Screenings. In your local multiplex cinema, the adverts are cut; the sound is turned down a bit; and the lighting is set at an amenable level. Many of the films are family-friendly, which is good for younger people with autism spectrum conditions.

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Former Burton Shop, Old Square

Tameside’s Autism Hour, 05 – 12 October 2019: Ashton Review of Shops Extra

Which Tameside shops are taking part in the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour?

If you have an autism spectrum condition, a trip to the shops can be a daunting prospect. One issue could be the bright lights, another could be the background noise. In a supermarket, even the sheer variety of items can be overloading.

As for the queues and the crowds, say no more… This eejit in his formative years used to squeal his way through department stores. Shoppers thought I was being mistreated when it was the bustle of John Moores’ most famous retail concern that drove me nuts. The background noise in Ashton’s Pound Bakery is enough to put me off from being a regular customer (the one in Hyde isn’t as bad for that).

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