Disclaimer: I am not an Autistic Spectrums Disorder expert, nor am I a Therapy Professional. Any advice I give is for educational and informational purposes only, and should not be considered professional advice. Professionals, such as teachers, doctors and therapist should be consulted before any life style changes are made, This website, and my services, should not be seen as a replacement for professional diagnosis, medication, or therapy. I refer to myself as a professional; however this is due to my experiences as an individual with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder and not due to my qualifications. Everything on this website is written from experiences and my own personal opinions. I hope to educate and inspire others with my knowledge. I can not guarantee any personal success or results, and will no be held responsible for any lack of success.
Life's Game of Snakes and Ladders -Support
Having no support is a bit like playing life’s game of Snakes and Ladders, alone. You struggle forward, terrified of the outcome of hourly life, as you play Life’s Game of Snakes and Ladders. ‘Snakes’ in this case, can be anything from bullying, a tough boss or a negative change in the direction of your life. You roll the dice of choice, take a turn not sure where you are going or what you are supposed to be doing, not even understanding the rules for this game... hey, adult life is hard, right?!
But then suddenly you are cornered by a large snake. You stop in your tracks, entranced by this giant, jeopardising creature. His tongue whips out, that horrible hiss escapes his mouth, scales glisten in the cold light... and the fear grips your heart. You become paralyzed with fear as you realise you shouldn’t have tried to play this game alone... but there’s no where you can run to, no support to help you out. Not a ladder in sight. The Snake’s eyes glint as he suddenly strikes. The scream escapes your mouth as panic consumes your soul... it’s happening again. You’re being swallowed and taken back down to square one again. You land on the floor; tears stream down your face as everything within you aches, negativity corrodes you. All that progress for nothing. Chilled to the bone, you sit there, consumed by the emotional rollercoaster that is life’s game of Snakes and Ladders... you tremble, you shake, your brain hurts... you were so sure you were on the right path, so sure the dice of choice was correct... where did that Snake even come from?! How can people expect you to get back up again, after a fall like that? Hopelessness encircles you, and as you sit, huddled all alone, on square one, you feel just as trapped as you did when that snake struck you down. How can you move on without support?
On the other hand, having support, is like playing life’s game of Snakes and Ladders, with a manual AND Ladders. Phew; what a relief!
You step forward confident that if anything goes wrong you have a safety net; you have supportive ladders who can help you out.
You roll the dice of choice, the dice stumbles and stops on a path that your supporters helped you see. You take your turn, you’re on the right track, supportive ladders have saved you before; you feel at ease and reassured. Here it comes, up ahead of you a giant snake looms, she’s ready to strike, venom glistens from her mouth. The fear hits you then, shaking you, seizing you, but still you travel forward, having to complete your journey. You’re in her square now, her territory, she rises up tall, threatening, ready. Your heart in your mouth, desperation bubbles with your blood, shaking you , paralyzing you with fear; you just can’t go back to square one again... she slithers around you, her tail whips around your feet. Her mouth stretches, red torn white, grotesque, fangs dripping with venom, when you notice something ahead of you...
It’s hope, it’s support; It is a Ladder!
Breathing fast, you run forward, narrowly missing the snakes lunging bite, and you grasp the ladder as if your life depends on it. Heck, sometimes it does! You climb the ladder, up, up, higher than you ever had been before. And suddenly your feet are on firm ground again, and you could weep with relief. The ladder has taken you up a few levels, and you realise that although you can see snakes, the ladder has provided you with new and exciting journey, it has taught you how to try and escape, enabled you with skills you didn’t realise you had; if you knew how to climb a ladder before you would have done it a long time ago!
But best of all, there are ladders... ladders to help you out of any sticky situation. If that ladder had not of been there, where would you be now? How long would it have been before you had the strength to push forward, and try life’s game of Snakes and Ladder’s, again?
It’s important to realise what the Ladders are in your own game of Snakes and Ladders; for me, and thousands others nationwide, the ladders are the voluntary sector, and family, friends, professionals, charities and the incredible support they provide.
Support can build you up, take you to places you never before thought was possible; skills emerge you did not realize were there and you are confident in your ability; all because support has enabled you to think clearly.
The brilliance of realising how truly blessed I am to be surrounded by ladders (how odd!) and to have support from my voluntary family has proved completely invaluable in shaping me to be the person I am today. Do you think I would have achieved half of my dreams if I did not have such royal support from my families? No; I doubt I would have had the opportunity, nor the ability.
When things went wrong, when snakes would corner me and threaten to swallow me down to square one, I was not embarrassed or ashamed of my so called ‘failings’. This is because the voluntary sector and my family have always made it clear, that I did not fail; rather the lack of education of my disability in people, and their lack of understanding of how to help, had failed me; which was not my fault at all. Volunteering also provides ladders for other people, to rise above their own misunderstandings and misconceptions, by learning to improve their communities / their work practises or their attitudes; in turn, creating ladders for others in need by being supportive, understanding and accepting of diversity.
Just like a real game of Snakes and Ladders, life can change at any moment, so you should always live a life that you won’t regret; follow your dreams as much as possible. Build a future that you can be proud of and make those dreams happen – never forget that volunteering can open doors to a future of incredible measures; you just have to open those doors, climb those ladders and take a peek! Remember to only say “Yes” to others if you are not saying “No” to yourself. If you are dedicated enough, to the right project, change can happen one tiny little step at a time. The beautiful thing about volunteering is that whilst you are helping other people, and helping yourself, you are simultaneously building the experience, confidence, happiness, wisdom, life skills and abilities that can aid in future ambitions. Not to mention you will meet many supportive ‘ladders’! I love volunteering, I adore making concrete change and achieving my dreams; that is why I volunteer. My family and voluntary group know how without support and understanding, I shrivel up like an old dark autumn leaf and fail to show the world my usual bright colours, instead they know how to let my colours shine and how to enable me to succeed in this difficult game of Snakes and Ladders, we call life... and I’m sure, that ladders like this, can help you too.
You just need to find your ladders! Volunteer; Change lives, to change your life.
x <3 x