Who is Alison Hale?!

 

Who am I?! If I am being very formal I may say, "I am Dr Alison Hale, a scientist, with a doctorate in physics." However such a formal introduction would obscure my colourful past. Throughout my early life I was not expected to achieve very much academically or otherwise. It was not obvious that I was very bright, in fact often I was considered to have lower than average intelligence. This view point was not without foundation. For example, during my mid-twenties when I wrote the first edition of my autobiography I was barely literate, could not socialise, and was consumed by depression and anxiety.

Despite my beleaguered state I dreamt of a better future. So what went so horribly wrong and how did I turn my life around? Unsurprisingly the answer is the subject of my autobiography My World is not Your World! However here I give a very brief synopsis:

  • In the beginning... I have vivid memories the senseless confusion of preschool, I was bewildered by the incomprehensible mishmash of sounds [spoken language] and the multicoloured blurs [children].
  • At Primary school... I very often contemplated, "When reading are we supposed to read the black bits or the white bits?" Neither the black bits [letters] nor the white bits [spaces] made any sense to me.
  • At secondary school... I did not want to be bullied on a daily basis but this was almost inevitable given I was barely literate, unable to conform, and could not do 'normal' teenage activities.
  • Late teenage years... I struggled through an Electronic Engineering Apprenticeship trying to hide my Dyslexia (incl. severe literacy difficulties) but refusing to give in to it.
  • Early twenties... I was socially, emotionally and physically disconnected from life. I was long-term unemployed, lived with my parents and lost sight of my aspirations.
  • Mid twenties... I began to make real sense of my surroundings, other people and importantly myself. I was diagnosed as having Autism Spectrum Disorder; specifically Asperger Syndrome.
  • Late twenties... Now with a better understanding of myself I was handed the opportunity of a job in IT. My party trick was to quickly fix IT problems which my colleagues could not solve!
  • Early thirties... An irresistible opportunity arose to attend university. I completed the 4 year course in only 3 years(!) graduating with a First Class Honours Masters Degree in Physics.
  • Mid thirties... I enjoyed doing my PhD. Life was not easy as Dyslexia, Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome, and Autism Spectrum Disorder presented many challenges which I needed to overcome.
  • Today... I thoroughly enjoy myself working as a Researcher applying advanced mathematical and computer techniques to a verity of science problems.

Recently I realised that I was greatly saddened by the fact that there are still so many children and adults who are still being failed by the education, medical and social care systems; too much distress and unfulfilled potential. This was my motivation to update my autobiography and publish the second edition. If just one person is helped by my story then all my efforts in writing it down were worth it.