Emotional meltdown: I do feel like I'm a burden to people'

PUBLISHED: 12:19 26 September 2006 | UPDATED: 10:54 06 May 2010

FOLLOWING our story last week about a 15-year-old girl who suffers from dyspraxia, a reader is keen to highlight the issues faced by adults with similar conditions. Paul Way, of Icknield Way, Baldock, has recently been diagnosed with Asperger s syndrome,

FOLLOWING our story last week about a 15-year-old girl who suffers from dyspraxia, a reader is keen to highlight the issues faced by adults with similar conditions.

Paul Way, of Icknield Way, Baldock, has recently been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, dyspraxia, dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Asperger's syndrome - a form of autism with symptoms including difficulty in communicating and in making social relationships and a lack of imagination and creativity - is one of Paul's biggest obstacles.

But each of the conditions he has causes frustration which often leads to public outbursts.

Mr Way, 40, said: "When it's a 15-year-old having a tantrum, society accepts it more. When you're 40, security removes you or the police are called.

"It's difficult for people my age and size to still be having temper tantrums. Society just doesn't understand it. Everybody forgets that adults also suffer."

Mr Way, who is currently unemployed, has had nine jobs over the past 15 years.

He said: "I was bullied at school and I haven't done well at work. People's attitude is that people like me can work but that's not true.

"I would get more frustrated and that would increase my temper tantrums and I would get sacked.

"We can get into a meltdown very quickly over the smallest thing. When you're in a meltdown all rationality goes out of the window."

He added: "I have an emotional mix every day and it worries me in case I get into a dangerous situation.

"I'm on edge every minute of the day and emotionally inside it's really upsetting."

Mr Way's condition was not diagnosed until he was 36 years old.

Despite trying to live independently, he now lives back with his parents.

He said: "I still live with my parents at 40 because I have trouble coping with things. I need ongoing help and every day is a struggle.

"It's difficult for my parents because they are in their 70s and I should be looking after them really. I do feel like I'm a burden to people."

Mr Way now receives help from DANDA - the Developmental Adult Neuro-Diversity Association - and has been assigned a learning disability advisor.

He said: "She can't stop things happening but I can explain things to her and it helps to talk.

"There needs to be more support in place for people who need it."

For more information about DANDA, visit www.danda.org.uk

l Dyspraxia Awareness Week is this week and aims to promote awareness of the condition - an immaturity of the brain resulting in messages not being properly transmitted to the body.

The Hertfordshire Dyspraxia Support Group can be contacted on 01462 454986 or by visiting www.dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk

Alternatively, email the charity's co-ordinator at kathymainstone@btinternet.com

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