Its World Autism Awareness Week and we have been taking part in an online event to raise money and to do what we can to help spread awareness, understanding and acceptance. All the information and videos shared on that event will be available here soon, but i wanted to give this particular post a post of its own.
This guest post comes from someone who is on the autism spectrum, this is from their point of view and a little insight into their life. I want to thank this young person for doing this for us i love how open and honest this is, it really helps me understand a little more about what life is like for them, i hope you will read it and open your heart to learn more, even if autism doesn’t affect your life personally it will when you are out, and your reaction will affect them! whether you are at the shops and see a child having a meltdown, or in a restaurant wondering why those parents cant keep their child still or if you meet a young person or adult who flinches when you accidentally brush past them or they run off, and a number of other ways that you may come into contact with someone on the spectrum. Educate yourselves so that you can be understanding and non judgemental because we want to bring up our kids in a world that understands and is accepting but for that to happen everyone needs to do their part even if its just to listen.
Okay so first off I was a really really bad kid. I’m really not proud of my childhood. And one of the most significant things I’ve learnt growing up is a very harsh reality that if you can pass as “normal” or “just one of the weird kids” then honestly it’ll make things a hell of a lot easier. Honestly I’m very lucky with my condition to be honest. I went into a special ed school around the age of 7 and stayed there until I was 16. Boy what a shock mainstream college was. But over the past 2 and a bit academic years (I’m nearly 19) I have transformed as a person multiple times. Now although I still struggle with things like social abilities and queues and so on. -There will always be things that will never go away. But you do learn a lot of behaviours over time. Looking at someones cheeks, nose or mouth for example. Or even look straight past them. They honestly can’t tell the difference.- Most of my struggles are honestly to do with my mental health. I’m not gonna lie I have suicidal thoughts nearly daily but theres two pieces of writing that honestly mean a lot and keep me going “Know that this too shall pass.” & “One more day. Every day.”
Do you find it difficult to make friends?
Oh god yes, if I don’t click with a person I really don’t wanna be around them to be honest. I find making and maintaining relationships -of all kinds- with people really difficult
Did you have special interests at an early age or did they just develop over time?
I’ve definitely always had special interests. And they’ve changed as the years go by but I think they play a big part in how nerdy I am
What’s the situation with your senses?
I am very sensitive to touch and sound. I also cannot stand bright sunlight, I’m constantly squinting on sunny spring and summer days
Are you able to empathise with others and recognise their emotions?
Most of the time yeah. Sometimes I ask people if they’re okey and they’re just zoned out so I can get confused but I can recognise
What situations do you find most difficult?
Crowds for definite. And when people stand too close to me in a queue; especially if I have a backpack on. Ugh! I can’t stand it. I remember one time I was out shopping and I could feel something building and myself getting overwhelmed and I swiftly walked straight out of the shop and sat on the nearest bench I could find. So yeah, personal space
What is some advice you would give to parents who have a newly diagnosed child or have suspicion or are even just struggling?
Hmmm, just please be patient with us, we’re learning slowly. We have started life with a few setbacks. Understanding is really important, so if the autistic person in question is comfortable with it, try get talking with them about their own experiences. Because “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism” – Dr. Stephen Shore.
Please just remember that everything will be okay in the end. That’s coming from someone who has come very far, but still has far to go.