'My life with Asperger syndrome'

Michael Cooke, 22 when interviewed, has Asperger syndrome and lives at home with his parents and three brothers in Manchester. He works at an arts centre a few evenings a week and likes playing football.

'I ended up having a home tutor instead of going to school, which I really enjoyed because she listened to me'

"I am a front-of-house assistant at Sale Waterside Arts Centre. I take tickets, work on the bar and help customers. My job is marvellous. I like mixing with all the staff and socialising. I get on well with everyone. It's only a few evening shifts and I'd like to work full days as I'd like more to do. I've been there for around six months."

Michael's family and friends

"I live with my family: my mum, dad and three younger brothers. I love living at home, but it can be noisy with my brothers. In my spare time I play on my Xbox, go walking in the country with my Nan, and help my mum at home by cleaning and vacuuming.

"I meet my friends when I go out and play football regularly. I also go to Aspirations, which is a group that provides social opportunities and support for people with Asperger syndrome. I have a lot of friends there."

Support at work

"I found my job through Trafford Supported Employment, a job-matching service run by the charity United Response.

"Sometimes I find using the tills at work difficult. When I started my job, Laura and Gemma, my coaches from the charity, helped me to learn the tills. Now if I get stuck, a member of staff lends me a hand. At first I was shown what to do – somebody pressed the buttons and I copied. But now I'm given instructions."

Michael's experiences at school

"When I was at school I was a bit hyper and I didn't go that much. It wasn't my sort of environment. I didn't like it. I felt like there was always a teacher watching over you. In the end, I had a home tutor instead of going to school, which I really enjoyed because she listened to me.

"I did like college, though. I went to Loreto College in Manchester. You could have your own space there, and you were treated like an adult.

"I would like to have a full-time job at somewhere like B&Q. I did a placement there not long ago and really liked it. I would just like to be working full-time, to keep busy."

More information

Find out more about living with autism, including getting a diagnosis for autism, the help available, and the experiences of people with the condition.

Page last reviewed: 26/05/2015

Next review due: 26/05/2017

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