To me disruption is a real issue. I have at the ripe old age of 47 just been diagnosed with Autism. This is not a complete shock as there have been plenty of signs along the way. I really don't like social situations and have always avoided family parties like the plague, I am told that I can be blunt and struggle with eye contact however my strongest autism trait is described as 'repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behaviours or interests' or routines. Therefore, any disruption to these routines can be stressful for me to deal with. School is full of routines, however as we all know these can and are disrupted frequently. Over the years I have found ways to deal with these disruptions, mostly by pre-planning possible scenarios of where things might go awry, I am definitely a back-up plan lady. I now have a reason for my handbag to ‘weigh a tonne’. I like to be prepared for all eventualities, my handbag first aid kit is legendary. I know I haven’t had to use the tube of Bonjela I carry with me every day very often but that staff member with an ulcer was very thankful, as was the mother of a child who was stung by a bee at Knowsley Safari Park – Germolene is a life saver. Autistic people can be planners we just do it to the Nth degree. Even so the totally unexpected can happen, this is where my logic comes in. I am calm, at least on the outside, in a crisis and can form alternative plans quickly and am able to direct others to perform the tasks needed. I am told I should have been a military general but I chose a different career, that of headteacher. Feedback from colleagues tells me that I have an unwavering focus on what is best for the children. I follow school policies and procedures; I research the best solutions to various issues, fact checking my research numerous times. As my diagnosis has come in the last week I have had a fair amount of disruption to my thinking. I have replayed important moments in my life to see if my autistic behaviours have influenced my actions. It will be no surprise to people who understand autism to find that they have. In fact, I can now pinpoint several moments in my career where my actions have been misunderstood to be rude / rigid when in fact I have behaved in a perfectly reasonable autistic way. What do I do with this diagnosis? As I move on in my career do I tell people? Will staff want to work for an autistic head? Will schools want to employ an autistic head? Will I need change my behaviour to account for this diagnosis? Does that mean I am not being true to myself? Do I tell one or two trusted people and ask them to give me a sign that I am being too autistic? I don’t have any of the answers yet, and it may be sometime before I do, if ever. But I do know a few things, disruption causes me stress but if I plan for it I can usually find a way around it. I know that in a very disruptive situation I will behave logically and at least on the surface look like I have it all together. If I am out and about and somebody needs first aid, I’m your lady!