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Caitlin Richardson

Thursday 27 January 2022

Achieving your goals on the spectrum

Sometimes in life, it can be worrying thinking about the future if you or someone you love is on the spectrum. But the future can be bright if you use your skills to your advantage and reach for what you want in life. You just need to know where your strengths lie, we all have them! 


Identifying strengths 

Lots of people on the spectrum are passionate about their interests. These bring many people on the spectrum, including myself, copious joy and can be great for developing skills.  

Personally, I always loved TV and the way it transported you into other worlds. I knew I wanted to progress this but it was a worrying thought. 

But when you can identify what brings you joy, it can be incorporated into your future to further help you progress in your personal life and your career. 


Going further 

University can seem like a prospect that just isn’t possible for a lot of people on the spectrum. But it can be a rewarding experience to incorporate into your routine. If you look into the details and find somewhere you feel comfortable, it can be within reach. There are also online courses as options, if leaving your home will lead to over simulation and stress but you would like further studies. 

Everyone is different. You don’t need to go to further education to succeed and can still have a bright future. It is just one particular path some people want. If your dream is to work in the topic you are passionate about, then by using your knowledge and drive it can make things happen. The important thing is never to give up and know your worth. Sometimes just because the journey is tricky, doesn’t mean the destination is out of reach. 

As a person on the spectrum, I had to really build confidence to even consider applying to university. I knew I wanted to work in film someday but was worried about many things. Meeting new people, the work, the change in routine – it’s daunting. But once I began the degree I knew it was exactly where I should be. 


Recognising achievements 

It can be difficult to recognise achievements sometimes. For many reasons. But this is a crucial step to achieving your goals. 

Whilst at university I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone and try and learn new skills. I don’t have the biggest confidence in myself which makes it difficult to recognise personal achievements. I have found it helpful to remind myself, in one go, of all that I have achieved, so I realise it’s value and meaning. No matter how big or how small. 

I have made films with no budget, featured on TV shows, have become a writer for a TV show online, won a couple of awards and have nearly finished university. Although it was challenging at times, remembering my passion got me through every step of the way. But these achievements are just as important as smaller things. Being more flexible with changing times, having conversations with new people, knowing my lunch may be different each day and asking a question during sessions. 

Small achievements are amazing and should never be undermined. They are different for each person and crucial to reflect on to build confidence going into your future. There are myths that people on the spectrum can’t do certain things - or you may feel you can’t – but there is always a future for anyone to enjoy. Play to your strengths and give yourself a pat on that back for each step taken! It is possible to achieve your goals. Remember to tell yourself each great thing you do and know you’re doing a good job. Give yourself credit! 


About the author 

Caitlin Richardson is a 21-year-old film and TV university student from Essex. She was diagnosed as autistic at the age of 11. Caitlin loves writing her own films, photography, musicals and concerts.