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News: World Autism Acceptance Week: Mark’s story

Mark Sherwood on a blue background with a quote that reads I've spent my whole life feeling different to everybody around me.
Autism Acceptance Week Staff Graphic

Autistic people face discrimination and barriers across all sectors of society. World Autism Acceptance Week (2nd8th April) helps to raise awareness and educate people. It’s also an opportunity to highlight how to help make the world friendlier to those who are affected by it.

At Nottingham College, we are proud of our inclusive environment, where all students and staff are encouraged to be their true authentic selves and supported to reach their full potential. 

Thank you to Mark Sherwood, IT — Senior Infrastructure Engineer, who shares with us his personal journey, along with some interesting myth-busters.

Mark’s story

Nottingham college employee

I’ve spent my life feeling different to everybody around me. As well as suffering with depression and anxiety disorders, I would find that my personality or the way I came across would change, depending on who I was around. 

I’ve spent years seeking advice, having counselling and attending cognitive behavioural therapy. This has had a really positive impact on my life, but never gave me any explanations. I’ve explored so many mental health conditions, but they were ruled out by professionals. 

Almost three years ago, I had an assessment with a Secondary Mental Health Assessment Nurse, who picked up on potential neurodivergent characteristics. I’d never considered autism and other neurodivergences, due to my ignorance around these. I just didn’t really have a proper understanding of them. 

At the end of 2023, I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (combined type), and in the last few weeks I have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, formally Aspergers Syndrome. 

Whilst waiting for these diagnostic assessments, I have been learning a lot more and realising just how much these impact my life. I’d already developed strategies by myself, without really knowing, including masking my autism, by trying to fit into society and those around me. 

I welcome my new diagnosis and I’m constantly learning more, by training, reading, and meeting like-minded people. I’ve been very open about this, and I strive to share knowledge and support to those who seek it. This is one of the many reasons I am involved with our college Disability Café. The group meets throughout the year and aims to signpost, assist others with a variety of medical conditions, and to build on the steps already in place, to help our college become an inclusive employer for all. 

Mark Sherwood — IT, Senior Infrastructure Engineer

Nottingham College is firmly committed to being a disability inclusive organisation. That includes those disabilities which are seen, and unseen.

Mark's mythbusters

Published on:
  • 2nd April 2024 (9:12 AM)
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