Stewart Sleight exercises weekly in the Wellness Hub at Grimsby Health & Wellbeing Centre. In 2000, he was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of Autism, which can affect him socially.
Autism is a wide spectrum relating to how the brain works, affecting those with it from birth or from a very early age. Whilst there may be similarities between people with Autism, no two people will experience it in the same way.
In Stewart’s case, interpreting non-verbal communication, such as facial expressions and social cues, has always been difficult. Loud noises and environments with lots going on can also be overwhelming and stressful. Everyday life can therefore present certain challenges.
As well as this, Stewart also manages Cerebral Palsy, a medical condition that he was born with that affects his balance and co-ordination.
When Stewart joined us back in 2016 via Active Forever, our 12-week GP referral programme, it was with the view to improving fitness and mobility. Six years later, he’s not only in better shape physically, but feels happier, more relaxed and looks forward to his weekly workouts.
The staff have always made me feel welcome, especially Ian who always makes me laugh. Coming here is like a home from home.
Autism doesn’t stop me from doing anything physical but socialising and meeting new people can sometimes be difficult. Having a good group of friends, who I’ve met through the Wellness Hub is a big help.Stewart
After exercising, Stewart enjoys a well-deserved coffee in the Creative Hub at the Centre, which is a friendly and welcoming space, perfect for catching up with friends.
Outside of the Wellness Hub, Stewart is an advocate for improving services available to others with similar challenges. He holds a foundation degree in Health and Social Care and has been part of several committees including Mental Health Employment, Health Action, Supporting People, and Grimsby and District Learning Disability Action Group.
Stewart added: “I wanted to share my story because I think it’s important for others to see how people with Autism can fit into society.
“I also want to take the opportunity to thank the people who have supported me along the way including my two sisters Carol and Julie, as well as Alison, Sheila, Dave and Tina from Care Plus Group and Ian at Lincs Inspire.”
Stewart shares his story as part of World Autism Acceptance Week (28 March – 3 April), led by National Autistic Society, helping to create a society that works for autistic people. This year marks the 60th anniversary year. For more information visit www.autism.org.uk
NELC SEND team will be in hosting pop-up events across Lincs Inspire Libraries, highlighting the resources and support available. View dates and times.