The All 4 Inclusion Pod

#10 Although she knew aged 4, it took 45 years to get a diagnosis. #ActuallyAutistic

May 25, 2022 Scott Whitney Season 1 Episode 10
The All 4 Inclusion Pod
#10 Although she knew aged 4, it took 45 years to get a diagnosis. #ActuallyAutistic
Show Notes Transcript

Dr Shirley Woods Gallagher was diagnosed with Autism in her later 40's. 

She is a director at a Trust covering multiple schools and academies. Prior to that she held senior positions with Manchester City Council. 

Shirley wants people to know that they can get senior roles with neurodiverse conditions such as autism.

Be proud of who you are and embrace your condition as much as possible.

It really was inspiring talking to Shirley and I know we will stay in contact. 

If you want to find out more about all4inclusion please view our website at www.all4inclusion.org and sign up for our newsletter

Voiceover for intro and outro by Jennie Eriksen | LinkedIn

Music granted free of charge very kindly by Music: https://www.purple-planet.com . The track is called Hope and Inspire.

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Scott Whitney:

Welcome to this week's all for inclusion pod. My name is Scott Whitney. It's a podcast designed for people with disabilities, people caring for people with disabilities, people who offer services to people with disabilities and also for businesses and society to learn about inclusion in general. Today, I am joined by Shirley woods, Gallagher. Hello, Shirley, how are you?

Dr Shirley Gallagher-Woods:

Good morning, Scott. Great to be here on the podcast.

Scott Whitney:

Thank you very much coming on. Shirley, do you mind just introducing yourself and telling the listeners a little bit about you?

Dr Shirley Gallagher-Woods:

Yeah, sure. So my name is Shirley. And I'm proud to be autistic. I consider it as being part of my identity as much as being a woman is, and I was very late diagnosed at the age of 49. During lockdown one. Tragically, the week my dad died of COVID on a COVID Ward, so he never got to know. But I'm sure it wouldn't have made any difference to him, he would just have been proud of me. And my day job is an exec director of a multi Academy trust of special skills, which includes an awful lot of neurodivergent children and young people.

Scott Whitney:

Excellent. Thank you. So you said you was diagnosed, at 49 which is, which is obviously very late. And, it's kind of tragic, isn't it that people live to 49 without knowing that they have a condition?

Dr Shirley Gallagher-Woods:

Well, I would just I would just wouldn't describe it as a condition because I'm born this way. It's just me. But for me, it's kind of like I knew I was different when i four I knew absolutely. I was different to my peers for I knew I like talking to what we used to call them and I'm so old in the 1970s that dinner ladies lunchtime organisers, they used to enjoy talking to them more than my own peers. And that was my demeanour a very grown up little child, shall we say, and very mature, four year old, an extremely accident prone difficulties with a reading scheme. Most intellectual at handwriting, you could shake a stick out and clearly used to run out of the cinema screaming every time you went anywhere. I remember vividly going to a doctor who exhibition in Blackpool and screaming the place down. And it wasn't so much I was frightened of the darlik it was what the heck is that noise, my ears are bleeding running out. So I knew I was different for but we had no framework for understanding that either at home, or at school, or even in the 80s when it was at secondary school, high school, that this would explain my difference for a girl or a young woman transitioning to adulthood. So I just grew up thinking, I'm always told I'm weird. I'm always told I'm strange. And I was told them different. And I took that narrative on. Yeah, that's the And then I sort of grew up with depression and anxiety is the narrative. best way to describe adulthood. And that's how it's how it framed it for me. And he was working within the Sen sector and reading early diagnosis of much younger girls, but I almost started out with thinking I might be autistic or think might be autistic. Oh my god, autistic? Yeah, how did I not know this? How did I not know this? And then went through the whole assessment process, which was difficult for anyone, like diagnosed, because you then have to reframe your past, don't you? Yeah, try and make peace with it, and make peace with your school life. Make peace with your community life, make peace with maybe the way you were parented because your parents just didn't know. But at the same time, then now accept that it's a really great self navigation tool. I feel like I've lived two lives the life where I didn't know. And so there was a struggle behind it. That was masked out to the public at large. And now we get some of this lab, we go, oh, well, your stem cell. That's why I'm freaking out in a train station. This is why I hate hospitals. This is why I don't do airports. These are things I can do to help to help myself in those contexts. And it's brilliant because it just feels like a brilliant well being tool. So I think you know, anyone listening to this. You can be 79 can get yourself late diagnosed, it will make a difference, I promise you in a positive way.

Scott Whitney:

Excellent. And you mentioned about sort of masking. Do you find that you wear a mask less now or do you not wear a mask at all?

Dr Shirley Gallagher-Woods:

I would say I do a bit a bit of both now. So in some respects, I don't know. So if I'm say walking around the supermarket, I won't name a brand. And I hear music play I can't help but my shoulders doing a little shimmy, do you know what I mean? Now in the past, I'd be thinking, I can't do this. I'm in a supermarket this is well, I don't, I will happily dance around the aisles. If anyone looks at me strange, they'll smile away. But like the Penguins of Madagascar. Hello? Sure. Do you know what I mean, I'm enjoying myself. Isn't it nice to enjoy. So I don't mask the stuff like that at all anymore. And I literally cannot mask my absolute joy and excitement at anything. You know, I clap and flap I skip to the domain. And I just think Wow, isn't amazing. My whole body can show you how happy I am. Why would I hide that light under a bush? But for other things where I think God Oh, this is this is socially awkward, like doing sales type thing. You know, do you know what I mean I was running, I was running a store where my son is in a band in the high peak at the weekend. And I was like, oh god and put in charge of sales for cakes and tea. And I'm not good at this small talk. And then I think well this is where I put in my acting role my masking Well, I almost don't feel like myself and I go out there and go hi, please, would you like some cakes? Let's do a deal on gigs. There's like a cup of tea. And it just go into it. And then I think you know what? I actually think not so neurodivergent people mask as well. To me. kind of thing. Maybe it's an adult strategy. Overall and like for me, that's not pathologize them asking too much because I'm conscious of when I turn it on and off now.

Scott Whitney:

That's good is knowing when you can and cannot do it and use it almost like like a cape can't you and it gives you a superpower as to when to do it when not to do it to make the best out of every situation for yourself. So when you was in, in school, then did you have any, Did you have any sort of coping mechanisms?

Dr Shirley Gallagher-Woods:

I suppose in primary school i i kind of really struggled because although I was cognitively like very bright. And you know demeanour verbally very articulate. I struggled massively with the reading scheme. So I never finished the reading scheme. Never stopped me getting a PhD when I was older a degree so if anyone's listening thinking, Oh, no, my child struggling with Kipper and chip, don't sweat it. I got through it. Yeah. So so that was that was difficult in the prime years, but secondary school was just a living hell. But the good news about the the 80s is that you're allowed to go home at lunchtime if you wanted to. So that was my saving grace every lunchtime because I only lived 10 minutes from high school. I used to walk home, you know, watch watching order rainbow neighbours and the Sullivans. Go back to school again. Because you certainly I'm gonna get horrifically bullied. in year seven, year eight by year nine people who were genuinely nice to me, were starting to avoid me as well because the bullies have been such a target for bullies that no one wants to be around that. And so was just out if I think of high school, I just think of it has been an exceptionally lonely period of my life where it was all about what you bright and you're in the top sets and and perform perform even higher academically? Well, so I just felt absolutely god awful, miserable, and couldn't can't cope with the sensory overload. And I look back now and I think. Yeah, how many times you have to keep changing class and walking around and going to a different class and getting reorganised for something else. And all the noise of the transition between classes, as well as just you know, it being acceptable to be really horrible to girls. And we're a bit different. But it was what it was it I can't change it. What happened happened, and at least I got to go home at lunchtime. And at least it was only five years. Because there was a sixth there was no, there was no Sixth Form College at my high school. So I went somewhere different, which actually at that point, then, although found that difficult, because it was such a large place, it was an FE college, your difference was embraced more teachers really engaged with you, the people who were doing a levels wanted to be there and to do a levels. And there were so many of us who'd come from so many different secondary schools into this college that there was no set allegiance. So I almost didn't, almost didn't have to make too much of an effort to make friends everyone was doing. Hi, I don't know anyone. I don't know anyone. It was about like, Oh, we don't have to do this. I don't know how to do this. But that was a big I was a big thing into like big social justice campaign it was a big thing at the time in the 80s will sort of like the original start of the climate change stuff, and anti apartheid movements because, you know, apartheid still existed then in the mid 80s. So I just joined lots of campaign groups went on loads of marches and found a common interest with my passion for social justice with all those other people, which was quite refreshing, then, you know, you don't fit in because you don't like five star and you don't like this band. And you're a bit weird. And, you know, to me, I suddenly had a tribe, if you like.

Scott Whitney:

Oh, brilliant that so. So it really kind of flourished. And so when I mean, I know you mentioned earlier about sort of depression and anxiety. When did that come from high school? Or was that a bit later on?

Dr Shirley Gallagher-Woods:

No, that started in high school. And in the 80s, there course there wasn't there weren't services, you know, what i mean, you'd go and speak to teaching staff and they go book, they'd say, the strangest things in the 80s. But you're a tall girl and you're bright, you'll be fine. What does that even mean? You're tall, and you're clever. Therefore, you can't be depressed, okay. And that just wasn't a framework for going to see anyone talk to anyone. It was deemed as quote unquote, a weakness or being soft, to show any vulnerability, whether at home in the community or school. So I just kept it all locked inside and then fell apart in my transition to adulthood. Yeah, so I developed an eating disorder in my 20s. Just because I was so overwhelmed and completely unprepared for that transition into the workplace. Yeah, and I didn't know it at the time, I look back on the time and the God. That's why it was hard. That's why I struggled. I have self compassion for what I went through. But my head was wandering at 100 miles per hour now going, I don't understand social cues includes an office environment. I don't understand this going out after work business, I don't understand the small talk. I do my best to write list and relate back to someone is this what you want me to do? Is that the clarity of what you do at work? Or was this change in landmass of you know, dating relationships, leaving home for good, not just getting leaving home to go to university on it was it was just a car crash and there was sort of a saving grace was actually joining local government went up just as I turned 30, and Manchester City Council at the time, was massively into regeneration, difference, diversity. I remember having a social model of inclusion around disability then, to mean 20 years ago, it was really pioneering, and I'm thinking that's an exciting place to work. And people love me. People loved the fact that I thought differently. They embraced me fully. And for the first time, I felt celebrated in the workplace and completely accepted it took until thirty from knowing I was different at four.

Scott Whitney:

Yeah. And was that then when things started to get better when it came to like eating disorder?

Dr Shirley Gallagher-Woods:

Yeah, totally. I mean, I stil, like with most, you know, with with some people who are neurodivergent, I struggle with eating certain textures and certain smells, and that kind of thing. And there's still if, if I'm in a really, really busy office environment, I won't eat lunch because I go into hyper focus. And it's that I can't, I can't be bothered with this artificial break in the day, you go and eat carbs. Do you know what I mean? And it just doesn't, it doesn't. It doesn't work for me. So when people say to you, would you like to come for lunch? But we think, no, but I can go for a coffee. Let's go for coffee. Let's have a chat or a cup of tea. Damn, so that we're not really for the eating because I've just end up with indigestion. Yeah, and it just won't digest properly, and then I'll feel rotten all night. And it's just not worth it. It's not an eating disorder these days, but I do have differences in eating and busy working environment.

Scott Whitney:

Okay. So kind of, if we flip things right around, then obviously doing the job that you're you're doing now, you've got a good insight into what schools do and what the council will do to help people when they're younger with diagnosis, what age do you think you'd have been picked up in? If you're going through today? And also what support do you think they would have provided for you straight away?

Dr Shirley Gallagher-Woods:

I'm not wholly convinced I would have been picked up massively because I'm not going to disclose the family members that I have who were neurodivergent that would be for them to be out but I have family members who were older than me and younger than me who when we've all been like diagnosed by any terms just to me. I'm so I'm not fully convinced. I would have been picked up because I would have been the quote, quite quiet, shy girl. Not making eye contact so it's written as shy. In your school. We put Oops, who's who sits there keeps a head down and ploughs out work of high academic quality. Yeah. So even if they could tell I wasn't particularly happy, I think they would have just gone well, she don't need an education, health and care plan. She's academically tick, tick, tick. And she's sometimes seems a bit quiet a bit, whatever. But we'll just we'll stick on a wellbeing workshop or something that we're putting on generically for the whole population. And but also, I don't think there's not a lot of information given to new parents around upskilling them to understand neuro divergence and difference from a young age either. And the kind of thing my strongest clues were for when it was tiny. Parents on I was told, so I was the I was the baby toddler who'd climb out of the car. Once the side was up straight afterwards, I was the toddler that fell out of the climbing frames had no worries about any danger. And when face first knocked off, my front teeth removed and a broken nose. Me, I was the toddler that would only eat beige foods. I was the one where my mom said even when I barely string sentences together, as even as a toddler, would literally be pushing people away going, I do it myself, I do it myself, I do it myself. And not like people in my face doing things for me. And they would have been the earliest indicators. But I just think they would have thought, Oh, she's the youngest of three, gosh, she's super independent, our Shirl and she's really confident around themotor skills will leave her to it. So I am not convinced even now. I would have been picked up. But I might have picked myself up earlier if that makes sense. Yeah, I think it's more likely, I'd have been a 13 / 14 year old girl all over Google and YouTube and looking things up and watching videos of other young people talking about their lived experience, and gabbing. That's me, and then go into my parents, my teachers going that's me. I think that's how it would have happened.

Scott Whitney:

So do you think sort of based on what you said there that social media is a really good tool then for teenagers to, to almost self diagnose?

Dr Shirley Gallagher-Woods:

I think it's incredibly powerful and affirming. Because I just think mean as secondary schools are so different now, aren't they? You know, to me, my son's at secondary school. I'm so proud that so many of them walk around talking about their neurodivergent diagnosis, and you mean their gender identity in this, you know, their sexual orientation. There's so much more free and confident. At a young age, you'd have to know that about yourself to understand that that's what your difference was. And that's why I genuinely and you don't get workshops at school on neurodivergent. Do you that's the people, young people who know that about themselves. So I think yeah, go on YouTube, and watching all those fantastic young people, you know, people like purple Ella or other others who've done videos out there, and webpages and social media accounts, and it just must be so powerful. And I found it helpful. Watching things go, Oh, yes, that was me at 16. Oh, wow, how interesting. How interesting. But I'm happy to talk about an older ageing autistic population, because there's nothing out there for the older age ranges, unless you are someone who has been in residential services, or with you know, a really complex diagnosis, which potentially could include learning difficulties as well. There's there's just kind of nothing in my bracket, which is why I'm kind of out now. Yeah, it has to be.

Scott Whitney:

Yeah, yeah. So have you heard any or have you attended any support groups or, or peer groups when you're saying there's no one you know, in that sort of bracket for yourself? Has there been any support groups that you could attend or anything,

Dr Shirley Gallagher-Woods:

No where I live, you get diagnosed and then you kind of like, good luck thumbs up and off you go. And I think because it was locked down one when this happened for me and everyone was at home so much, that's why I went online so much and educated myself, ordered books, watch podcasts, videos, anything to try and educate myself and then as soon as the lockdown restrictions began to lift the summer afterwards, I then set up my own sort of late diagnosis support group where I live and work with some clinicians locally just I'm putting my Facebook posts out on the vaccination page for where I live as well because that's the population isn't it? Um, through that set of my own late diagnosed support group to support one another and quite a lot of us it transpired have been you know, diagnosed during the lockdown period and all of us were a bit shocked you get diagnosed and it's like, well, there you go. You've got your you've got your identity or diagnosis however you want, you know, process up yourself. and off you go. And it's like what I need it Need to make peace with the past? And that there's there was nothing around how you would have those conversations with as your older your own family. Say your own partner your own children to explain what it means. How you would have those conversations with your parents and the siblings of the family, you were raised with an absolutely nothing out there about how you would raise it at work. Yeah, absolutely nothing. So I've since then, I've been working with a lady called Mary Seki, who chairs the Greater Manchester autism consortium, around what are we doing around employers? What are we doing to support employers around this? And what can we do in this particular space. So I have been involved with the development of the new Greater Manchester autism strategy, which has been launched next month. And I'm proud to have written a little introduction to it, as well, as someone who's out in a senior leadership role in GM saying, Well, we, we say in Greater Manchester, don't worry, we do things differently here. And we do things differently here because we are diverse, because it is our strength. And that includes autism and neuro divergence. That's my big call to arms.

Scott Whitney:

And there's like a lot of businesses that I feel or, or I think of that are scared, people being different. And, and I look at that, and I always kind of question it, because, you know, if you hire a team of people that think the same, you're always going to get the same results. But if you hire people who think differently, whether it be that they think outside the box, or whether it be that they're neurodivergent, you're gonna get a lot of different ideas, you're going to be able to break down barriers a lot quicker. And, and also, you've got the fact that 20% 15% of the population is is neurodivergent. So you need to be able to, to relate to who is what is potentially 20% of your clients.

Dr Shirley Gallagher-Woods:

I agree. I mean, the latest research that I've seen is that what there's an estimate, that it's one in 44 of the population are neurodivergent, one in 44. That's a huge number. That's a huge number. And I agree completely, if you keep doing what you've always doing, you'll get what you've always got to know. Yo, you know, the whole point is that is that businesses, whether public sector, private sector is that they work in a dynamic environment that changes, therefore, you need to have agile leadership. Therefore, you need to have people who think differently. You know, I mean, one of my big jobs that I did in Greater Manchester was to write the devolution deal for early years for school readiness, which Andy Burnham has GML then upon as one of his key priorities, which was fantastic in post. Now, I wouldn't have if I'd have been the sort of person who'd always worked in early years and come up through the early years sector. And thought difficult pour overs around these, the targets we collect, and this is how we designed the system, then that's how we would have written the devolution deal, but I didn't. I've got a brain where I need to go and read everything. So I went in read about child development, early attachment theory, what underpins those basic principles, the best evidence based interventions in the world that have worked for early years, then the statutory code that the UK then operates in for early years, and sympathise that into a very simple seven stage model. And we wouldn't have had that in Greater Manchester had I not thought differently. And it was seen as it was seen as an absolute strength. The people I work with, valued me and valued my way of thinking enormously. And since I've made my late diagnosis, because that was in 2012 / 13. You know what I mean? I've come out so lots of those people. And it's interesting because they almost have this Scooby Doo reaction of like, sure, you kind of think, oh my god, really? I'm not really gonna go isn't that fantastic? I'm like blooming it really is. It really is. I'm not I don't I just prove the point that diversity and different ways of thinking is an absolute strength. So my my thing now my thing in my my job is to say in Greater Manchester, there are 25,000 children and young people with education, health and care plans. So that doesn't even include everyone is neurodivergent does it because of your Why didn't send support. Usually when we say want one in eight in mainstream could have a special educational need. So one in eight years, so it's just like, well, all those can't go through that system at the end of it not have a job, not have a career, not have an opportunity, when we have so much potential to give. So my call now is, if we're levelling up in Greater Manchester, it has to include those 25,000 children, young people who are absolutely super young. And I give an example, in our new bridge Group, we've had a group of 20 young people, just last month, go to Chicago to Apple headquarters, because we do all of our teaching using ICT. And they won the Chicago schools competition against all of the schools to design the best app, that Apple may now implement Apple headquarters in Chicago. So, absolutely, super knocking it out of the ballpark, because we think differently.

Scott Whitney:

That's amazing. That really is amazing. So you mentioned earlier about people who've got a late diagnosis, but I guess it could be people of any age with a diagnosis, but I guess late, late people more because of the change, and then having to speak to employers. I mean, what would you say is the best way to approach that if if you was listening to this, and and you're about to go into that situation?

Dr Shirley Gallagher-Woods:

Oh, I would, I would say to anyone you don't I mean, we all know what the equalities Act says and various things around, you know, you've got a right to request reasonable adjustments. And if you've just started a brand new job, if you're within the first 13 weeks of that job, you can apply to the Department for Work and Pensions to be assessed, and for any equipment and adaptations to be put in place for that. So that they obvious things, but also, only you will know yourself, what the culture of the organisation is where you work. And actually, if it's already difficult at the moment, and you already have you already know they struggling with some of the some of your differences, however you want to be able to articulate them. And you may want to think long and hard whether that's somewhere where you would necessarily want to stay in the long term. Because there are a You mean I'm I'm so lucky to work at Newbridge group. And the chief exec there, Graham Quinn didn't even bat an eyelid when I told him I've been late diagnosed because he knew he'd known me beforehand for years. And he just thinks it's brilliant. He always laughs Oh my god, we talked about late diagnose them to you at 49. mean, we laugh about it. And that's brilliant for me. And he's that, you know, he's so proud of me and what I've done and what I've achieved and how I got through mainstream and my God, what story and a role model for for women and girls in particular, who were diagnosed. And I'm really, I'm really proud of that. But I know, I know that it's not necessarily like that everywhere at all, and that, you know, you can find good and bad organisations, but you'll know you'll know what's right for you. And the key, the key thing is do you need to disclose at work because you need to have reasonable adjustments or not. If you're unsure what your work environment would be, would be my best advice. But for me now, I'm now out. Someone asked to be in a senior leadership role. So even if I left Newbridge and went somewhere else now, you would only take two minutes to Google me you know that about me? I kind of think it shouldn't be for those 25,000 children and young people to enter the world of work. And it all to be on their shoulders in their early careers. swimming away through people with prejudice saying I don't want to know that you can't say that or you can't be in work or or you know, or it's difficult or, or gaslighting or anything that that just does not feel cognisive with my values. So it goes back to me being a little campaign about unscoped you didn't mean a Rainbow Warrior and all that age 16 That's me. That's my personality. I'm Greta 1.2. Things like this. So for me, I I have to be out because I can't lead a dishonest life.

Scott Whitney:

Yeah. No, no, that's, that's amazing. And so okay, then again, flipping things around. What advice would you give to employers? Someone's come to you and they've said, you know, I've worked for you for X amount of time. I've just had a diagnosis and I thought I'd let you know that. But I'm autistic or I've got autism. Yeah. What advice would you give to employers?

Dr Shirley Gallagher-Woods:

Well, the employers, I would say, don't just go out to HR and look for work early. The policy guidance, you've gotten the equalities act, that's not the best starting point, the best starting point is to firstly acknowledge that the person has told you say, You know what, thank thank you for sharing that with me, I feel privileged that you have shared that information with me. How was the experience for you? And well, how can we help you? How can we help you best, and you might not be able to tell me now. And it may change as the months go by. And we vary how we can help you best. And that's all fine. That's it. But that for me would be it because you've got empathy, you've got the acknowledgement that this is a life changing moment for someone, it's just not a moment in time. And that the best thing you can do be as person centred. And that just like running a business is dynamic. Running a business and supporting someone who's neurodiverse is or neurodivergent. Is has to be just as dynamic and adaptable, to go at their pace. So sometimes they might be like super hyper focused, knocking out the block finishing all the work to make early blahdy, blah, and being whatever and others they might be really, really struggling because there's wider contextual factors you're unaware of. And, and therefore they just want to be with working in a quiet place. They want to do some work working from home. And it's all fine. Because all you're offering is a dynamic approach. That's person centred. That's it. Anyone can do that doesn't cost a lot of money at all.

Scott Whitney:

And it's a lot harder looking at it, I don't see any downside to to an employer for having one of their employees come to them and say this. Because if they're, if they're performing, amazingly, and they'll performing really good, and you're happy with that, well, they're still the same person. So that's not going to change. It might take a slight dip whilst they're going through and accepting the process themselves, you know, it's going to come back. And if someone's not performing well, well, are they not performing? Well, because of the surroundings? And like you said, would they then when you then move into a quiet space, would they then start to perform better when they're starting to work at home? And it kind of gives you a lot of options to be able to help them improve? Which you didn't know, were there in the first place?

Dr Shirley Gallagher-Woods:

Exactly. And for me, it's like encouraging self regulation, isn't it? So, you know, this will work for you, blah. And you notice, some of the performance issues might be there's far too much inference and knowing Glocks and, you know, this is kind of I always thought that, you know, to me, that dark art of I don't even know what it is, you know, to me that kind of like inference. And you just know what we want you to do by osmosis or whatever it is. Yeah, that clarity of instructions. So one of the things I learned very early on when I first started in the city council, and it's a great top tip. And it was only because our ad was superb, Citrix love, it's a bit when Janice used to say, Susan talks 100 miles an hour, you won't get it all down to I was when I worked with a saying, let me check is this what you've asked me to do? X Y Z. This is why x y Z. And this is what it needs to be an X Y Z. So that's brilliant. And I did that with everybody and have done ever since. Yeah. And then we're all clear about what we're being asked to do.

Scott Whitney:

Yeah, now that is good that is Good. So whilst we're on top tips, and just before we wrap up, because I feel like we could probably talk all day. But obviously, we need to make sure we are finishing at some point. What what would be the biggest piece of advice you would you would give to someone

Dr Shirley Gallagher-Woods:

my biggest piece of advice there's we get one life and life. You know what I mean? Can be short, it can go in a flash look at the pandemic, and what happened to my dad. And the thing that thing that I've learned is, I can either leave and leave, live a life in the shadows, and not know on or know and then not tell anyone or I can go out there in the blazing sun and enjoy my life and go I refuse to take off even less space so that people with prejudice can take up even more space. This is my space and I own it and I will enjoy my life. And I will always say I am proud to be autistic.

Scott Whitney:

Excellent. Thank you. Thank you. So that's all we've got time for today on the All 4 inclusion pod. Thank you very much for for listening and thank you very much surely for coming on and and speak reading about autism in your late diagnosis today

Dr Shirley Gallagher-Woods:

absolute pleasure thank you