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Sam Francis

​Sam's big turnaround
For Sam Francis from Newarthill, the change from feeling alone, isolated and let down by so-called friends and some professionals, to being a confident young man has been a revelation.
At school Sam, now 20, was only diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum when he was 17. By that time, the system was already failing him – teachers weren’t always equipped to support him, and he felt he was being bullied.
When his father died, his life took a turn for the worse and he also suffered from depression.
And when he went to Motherwell College on their Prospects course, he felt he was treated differently – like a child - and was given no support at all.
But since he started being supported in the community by ENABLE Scotland, he’s found a new lease of life.
Sam told us: “I am now getting to do the things that are important to me, and I’m being encouraged by ENABLE Scotland to get involved in issues that affect people who have learning disabilities.
“I have joined the local ACE network in Airdrie, and taken part in their new young adults ACE group.
“I’m now putting my experiences to good use, and trying to give back something to help give other vulnerable people a better quality of life.
“I wouldn’t have considered doing anything like that a couple of years ago.”
Sam is also getting to follow his great interests of military history and music, particularly death metal. He’s been to concerts in Glasgow and Manchester, and that has given his the idea of trying to form his own band.
And that’s not all.
Sam has just interviewed candidates form ENABLE Scotland’s regional service manager vacancy, and is looking forward to quizzing politicians next month at a special hustings event for people who have learning disabilities.
“Interviewing the candidates was really important, and needed a lot of preparation. I knew what I wanted to ask but, more importantly, what I wanted to hear from the candidates.
“And it’s the same for the politicians – I know what I want to ask them as well!”
Sam feels as if he has been given a fresh start in life, and he intends making the most of it.
“As well as helping others through ENABLE Scotland’s ACE network, I want to get a job, start my band, and try my hand at writing novels in different genres.

“Being a part of ENABLE Scotland has made me believe all of this is possible.”

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