Autism case study: ‘I’m giving something back by doing a good job’

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ANDREW Gray is an example of how people with autism can hold down jobs and be a positive force in the workplace. The 34-year-old from Dundee, who has Asperger’s, works as a waiter in a hotel and enjoys his job.

But this would not have been possible without support from a mentor. Mr Gray said: “I love my job and I am absolutely dedicated to my hotel. When I started work I was given a mentor by the hotel. My mentor has stuck with me and I can honestly say she has saved me from walking out or being dismissed.

“By doing the best job I can, I feel I’m giving something back for the faith she had in me.”

Mr Gray said, like many people with autism, he had difficulty reading facial expressions and his understanding of conversations could be a bit literal. But he said his mentor had helped him to understand her expressions.

His father, Norman, said people with autism were often diligent and showed great attention to detail, but just needed the right support.

“Many people with autism want to work so they can be independent but sometimes they come up against a lack of understanding,” he said.

“Andrew has worked so hard throughout his life to overcome the challenges of his condition. As his dad, there have been so many proud moments. It was fantastic to see his first wage slip.”