Sunday, 24 July 2011

Summertime and Words

Spider swaying in the summer breeze- Taken by me.
I love some aspects of the summer. The detail of the plants in bloom, the birdsong. The sun, preferably when I'm wearing sunglasses!I love sitting outside in the garden on the grass, or walking around barefoot (my mum always scolds me for this) and immersing myself in every little detail around me. Sometimes I take my camera, and I can spend a long time getting the pictures to perfection. The end result is never very good, but it's an interesting thing to do.

I was actually one of those on the spectrum who was called "a walking dictionary" and a "boffin" when I was younger, at least. For a person of my age I spoke very precisely and used more complicated words. Everyone would look at me as if I was very strange. I knew all of my times tables and I cared about classwork. This was in primary school, when I was around nine. I was the best at spelling in the class and always got high marks in spelling tests.

I was ridiculed for speaking the way I did which upset me at the time. People would laugh at me for saying "There was a period of time when I lived in London" and would call me over and say to me: "The shopping centre's so sick, isn't it?" With a grin. I looked at them in confusion and tried to think of a reply.

When I started secondary school I was called a walking dictionary. "Use some casual words," People rolled their eyes at me. So I taught myself to speak like a teenager. That means making sure that you don't use any words which are long or unusual, and saying things such as "sick," and "cool," and "fit." (I do think that it's harder to speak in the way that's more expected when you're tense or anxious and panicking) And learning phrases so as not to interpret them literally.

Of course secondary school isn't like primary school and I no longer easily answer every question asked and concentrate on schoolwork. Everything's a lot different now. It seems that just when you get used to something, everything changes again and you're left wondering what you're meant to be doing and where you're meant to be going.

For instance, friendships are now changing. Everybody was once in little groups, and I had a very small group of two friends, before everyone wanted to form bigger groups and meet up as part of bigger social gatherings. When this happens, I tend to panic and not speak and get pushed to the sidelines. It seems too much bother to try and fit in with these big groups. It's almost easier to completely isolate myself.

I'm still trying not to do that, though, although I think that next year, when school starts again, I'll try and concentrate more on schoolwork and learning and at least keep up with that if I can't keep up with all things social.

It's all one big giant game; there are too many rules and the truth is that nobody knows all of them.

Sunday, 17 July 2011


A diagnosis can be a really positive thing- instead of labelling you, it should point you in the right direction. The truth is that a diagnosis doesn't change the way things are. It also doesn't change the past. It does, however, help you look at things from a different perspective and possibly change things for the better.

The next bit is something I'm slightly ashamed of. The first time I ever heard the word "Asperger's Syndrome" was when the school sent home a letter suggesting to my parents that I should be reffered for an assesment for it. Nobody had ever said the word before.

As an eleven year old (or was I twelve? It doesn't really matter!) who had never heard the word before, I didn't really know how to react. Nobody told me anything about it for a while. My mum was reading up on it, and gradually it all started to make sense to her. It didn't, however, make any sense to me.

I didn't have a particularly good relationship with my parents at the time. We argued, a lot. And when they told me that I was going to "The child and family guidance centre" which is essentially the same place as CAMHS, or "child and adolescent mental health services" where I live, to be assesed for Asperger's Syndrome, I reacted kind of badly.

Note: To any parents who might ever read this, this could probably scare you a little bit when it comes to telling a child about their diagnosis. Remember that most people don't seem to react as badly as I did. If I'd known more about it, I doubt I would have reacted badly at all.

From my point of view, it was a way for my parents to try and tell me something was wrong with me. I was convinced that they were simply trying to blame me for all of our arguments and tell me that I would always be wrong and couldn't do the things I wanted to do. Now I know that's completely not the case! I almost flat out refused to go and when they eventually convinced me, I hardly said a word during the entire appointment. I told them, afterwards, that I didn't want to hear about it ever again.

I'm kind of ashamed now for reacting so badly, and picking on all of these little things. It was easy to deny everything without really knowing anything about it.

I think that my bad reaction could have probably been mostly avoided if I had known more about AS. I don't blame anybody for this. I just wish I'd learnt more. I've only recently started to really learn about AS- if I'd known more before, and if somebody had told me about it in a way leaning towards a positive viewpoint rather than a negative one, I think the whole mess could have been avoided.

In some ways this is a pointless rant. To anybody who tells somebody about a diagnosis- please make sure they know about it first. Make sure you tell them that they're not doing anything wrong, and that they're just as informed as you about the entire thing.

As it was, I didn't actually find out for sure about my diagnosis until I was thirteen.

Since then I've discovered that a diagnosis can be a really positive thing. As I said before, it doesn't change anything. Here are some of the positives for me:

- It means you can learn about it, and in the process learn more about yourself, strengths and difficulties.

- It helps you search for ways to cope and improve your life.

- It explains some of the difficulties you might have been having, and reassures you that they don't mean you're "wrong" in any way.

- It means that you can talk to other people about it, for instance in a support group or on a forum like

Overall, a diagnosis can be a really good thing, and definitely can't make anything worse. So it's worth getting one, in my opinion :)

I don't react badly to AS at all anymore and I'm glad that I have a diagnosis. This way I can talk to others and learn about it, mostly by reading, and at least there's an explanation for the way I feel so disconnected from everybody else sometimes!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

SammichEater's Story

Thank you to SammichEater for this amazing story. It's really interesting to read and just the fact that somebody doesn't have an official diagnosis doesn't make them a "wannabe". It can be hard to get an assesment for a diagnosis and anybody who considers themselves to have AS must have good reasons.

Even as a young child, I wasn't anything like a normal person. Perhaps my first memory of this was when I was about 3 years old. I was at some unfamiliar place, there were lots of people, including children my age (at the time), and it was loud. It was probably some sort of party. I remember walking across the room with the adults talking, and some guy and asked me "how do you feel?" I stopped and looked at him, not knowing what to say. He then asked me "do you feel sad?" I realized it was a dumb question because, first of all, he doesn't need to know, and he shouldn't care, and secondly, I knew that I didn't want to talk about it. I turned away and proceeded to walk out of the room. What happened after that is a blurry memory, but I know for a fact that my mom saw what happened and needless to say, she was very upset. If I'm not mistaken, I was forced to apologize, and then I ran off and cried.

But my weirdness is a double edged sword. While I was crippled in terms of social interactions, when I started school, I excelled at everything I did. Learning basic arithmetic and reading skills came natural to me. In kindergarten, I was going to be put in a gifted program, but my teacher thought I wouldn't maintain my intellectual advantage. My first grade teacher was clueless. It took only a few weeks before my second grade teacher realized my potential and put me in the gifted program. I remember being told thousands of times just how smart I was. It almost seemed as if I was some sort of prophet or something.

Then, because my dad is in the military, we moved to Arizona. I started going to a new school, and I hated it. The rest of that year, the second grade, was hell for me. My parents insisted that I should have been put in a gifted program, but because I didn't pass the test (by one question), I was locked out. Most students passed it at earlier grade levels, when it was easier. For the most part, I was stuck learning stuff I already knew, and it was really boring.

Also, that same year was when I remembered talking to my dad about friends. He was disappointed in me for not making any. To me, making friends wasn't on my mind. I never once complained about being lonely. I don't remember what exactly he said, but when the conversation was over, I decided that I did want friends, and that I would have to work for it. That's what I did, and I guess it payed off alright.

For the years after I was somewhat like any ordinary kid. I had made a few friends, and I continued to do well in school. Still, my weirdness made itself visible in other ways. I became obsessed with NASCAR racing. Unlike normal kids, I never really played with my toys. My idea of playing was building exact replicas of NASCAR courses in my bedroom floor out of whatever materials that I could find. When I had friends over to "play," all I did was bore them, and I didn't care.

In the fifth grade, I was forced to move back across the country once again, to Florida. I was quickly befriended by a nice boy, and he helped me to get back on my feet. By the sixth grade, I was still in elementary school; I became comfortable with my new surroundings, and up until recently, I referred back to this year as the best one I've had. In this time of my life, I could almost convince myself that I was normal.

Then it was off to junior high, and the fecal matter hit the fan. My relationships with my friends thinned out. I saw people being made fun of for being different, and it took me only a few hours before I realized that I needed to keep my mouth shut. So that's what I did, and it backfired. I became known as "that kid who never talks." Deep down inside, I started to develop a narcissistic hatred for society. I began to think that I had majorly screwed up somewhere. I knew my parent's wouldn't want me to tell them how I was really doing, so I made up friends just to make them happy. Not only that, but I became aware of my awkwardly flat facial expressions, and I started to develop an aversion to eye contact, only to add fuel to the fire.

But, in reality, I was happy. I had discovered the awesomeness of the internet. While people had no respect for me in real life, I could go online and I was usually met with friendly and helpful people. The whole saying that people are always meaner on the internet is a complete lie. Nobody I met playing games online knew who I was, besides a skilled and experienced player, which I earned respect for. It was because of the internet that I managed to maintain my sanity.

Then high school happened. I continued to follow the same path, talking to very few people and making friends through the computer. But, after moving to California, and spending freshman year at what I call a pre-ivy-league school, I fell flat on my face. I was not ready for the increase in responsibility and expectations. This brought about huge amounts of stress, and consequentially, depression. Once again, I felt as if I had failed somewhere. Not only was I a social failure, but I became an academic failure as well. I realized I was going to have to work harder, and I eventually started pulling myself back together.

A few weeks into my sophomore year it was time to move, yet again, but this time, we'd be staying for a while. To make a long story short, I once again regained my status as an excellent student, but I failed to make any friends. I remember thinking at the end of that year that something just wasn't right. I overheard something about "finding ones-self" during adolescence. I then thought about it. I had so little of an idea who I was or what I was doing on Earth that it about made me brown my pants.

Ironically, just a few months later, I found what I was looking for. I was accepted into the engineering academy at my school, and I started taking math and science intensive classes my junior year. On the first day I listened to the engineering teacher talk about how important social skills are for us, and how a lot of us engineers don't have them. I soon realized I was in the right place. It didn't take long before I found one of my classmates drawing a complex electrical circuit on his laptop computer. He was a total genius, but he lacked the basic social skills that my teacher was talking about. After a few weeks, I started to see him as a reflection of myself, with the only exception being that I'm much more shy than he was.

Then one Friday afternoon I came home from school, and my mom was telling me about this strange mental disorder that she thinks I have. I shrugged it off and continued on with my life, for a few hours. Then, I decided that maybe she is right. I mean, after all, it wouldn't hurt to look into it. I went to Google, and I tried to type in what I could remember from the word she used.

I started reading about it. I thought, "no way, this is insane, there's no way I have a mental disorder related to autism. That's for retarded people." I was disgusted. But at the same time, I was also interested. I kept researching. Over the course of a few weeks, I began to assemble the bits and pieces of my life that I previously did not understand. It's like I had been walking around in a dark room all my life, and suddenly a light was turned on, and I could then see what it was that I tripped over.

I began to develop a sense of community for the first time. I started to call myself an aspie. To think that there actually was somewhere that I belong was euphoric. Not only did I begin to understand myself, but I also began to accept it. I discovered who and what I am, and that there's other people like me. Despite my initial feelings about it, the idea seemed to be rather comforting, in a way that's really difficult to describe.

But then theres the thought that I just want to feel special. Maybe I just want to have somewhere I belong. Maybe I'm just making this up. After all, I don't have an official diagnosis. But after several months, I just can't consider myself to be a neurotypical. There is so much evidence suggesting that I'm an aspie it's almost ridiculous. It just kinda sucks that not everyone on the internet knows this. When I tell people that I don't have an official diagnosis, it makes me some sort of wannabe, like I'm not really part of the club. Luckily, not everyone is a jerk like that.

Chrissyrun's Story

Thank you to Chrissyrun for this amazing and inspiring story. I hope things are going well for you at the moment. You're right that life always keeps moving :)

I am not going to start with once upon a time because my story didn't start in fairy tale land and it didn't end there. Despite me being far far away, I was not in a castle at the time....but my room. Oh, gosh, my room. It was my was my prison. See, I was not the typical child, and you could've guessed it from the moment you met any age. To pay for my mistakes, such as meltdowns and tantrums, and violence towards siblings (or their distorted view of what a poke is), I would serve my time. At that same time, I was starting junior high. Everybody who likes junior high, raise your hand! Nobody? Really? I thought it was everybody's favorite part of life. It certainly was mine. After all, my very best friend who I shared a new state (after moving in 1st grade) and all of my elementary school classes with, would not be in any classes with me. Who would want a supportive best friend? And being a teenage girl, is just so much fun. Puberty, Anorexia, the fact that everybody expects you to be stupid and wear make-up was probably my favorite part. My parents thought long and hard, and to be fair, they did the best they could. They took me to a strange doctor who made me take tests and put me in a dark room with weird lights and noises who looked at my eyeballs. Yup, I had autism. So, I was a mentally impaired, no support, obviously weird teenage girl. Nothing could go wrong. Nothing like inciting a tendency for depression in my best friend who I loved dearly and causing her to move to a different school. That could never happen. Oh, wait, this is not somebody else's life we are talking about are we? It's my life, my completely dysfunctional, and completely ironic life. (This also happened to be the year I turned 13). The internet was not an option, we weren't allowed on EVER. My family was my worst enemies behind my teachers who told me I was doomed to fail. There were certainly a lot of choices. I acted up, I got in trouble, I did all the normal stuff "troubled teens" are supposed to do. Nope. It wasn't enough. Then I looked at my room. It had a tv. My only source of freedom. Because when my parents ground me from everything, they mean EVERYTHING. But nobody dared to go in my room. It was smelly, dirty, and hard to live in. I just thought of it as heaven. TV became my only thing to do, the only thing I could focus on. I didn't even do my homework out of school, because I was that smart. Or it could have to do with the fact that 7th grade takes NO effort. I think it was the first one. But, it didn't matter. School, Life, People, Family, everything was evil, that was, aside from my TV. It made me laugh, it showed people with worse situations than I, I could dance and sing and shout with it at any time. It didn't matter that the crap I was filling my head with would make me think bad thoughts later in TV was my surrogate best friend. Until..........the day.

That day when the storm arose and ruined my life. I'm talking about the day when I wasn't allowed to watch TV. It was torture. Suicide was my only option, and I reminded my parents of that, daily. In fact, on one occasion, I got a knife and called up my old best friend and was crying and screaming that I wanted to cut off my thumb. This is of course totally normal.....of course. My parents got sick of that soon, and didn't believe me. I have always been a show-off, after all. Loved putting on a performance. So what was my options? Numb. I went completely numb. My once lively self because a skeleton stuck in a phase of reality and anguish. Music was the only words I heard, and I constantly wondered about death and it's consequences, but no more attempting it. Wouldn't want to upset the parents, or they'd take my music.


It happened. No, I didn't attempt suicide. In fact, something was finally going right for me. Life had meaning. I took up an art class. Compliments, good grades, no effort, friends to talk to, it was a present given to me by an unknowing teacher and a very loving heavenly father. I actually put effort into a lot of those projects, and it made a difference. Soon, I learned that I had other talents, and people liked to talk to me, and that life was worth living.

And while you sit here and contemplate my resolution, thinking to yourself about how trite or superficial it may be. Does it matter? I am alive and happy today. I have my moments of doubt and I have my moments of worry, but I also have my moments of sheer joy and steadfastness of mind.

That is my story. So, where did I end up? has no clear finish. That's because my life is always moving. I try to make new friends, cultivate new talents, and find new reasons to live every day because though my mind may be in a land far far heart is right here trying it's best to life each day so I can be happy and help others be happy. Now isn't that such a cheesy ending. It's a real ending...unless you'd like me to say The End. Then of course, you are just crazy.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Jonsi's Story

Here's an AS story from a WrongPlanet member with a slight twist on things ;) Which still manages to make a lot of sense. Thank you, Jonsi, for the story!

My story begins a long time ago back in the dark age known as 1999, in a forest out in the smoky Manitoban plains. Two bushes stood out prominently in these plains. One had the most beautiful yellow flowers you had ever seen. They were like the bright, shining sun. Its leaves were round and the purest, most luscious green you had ever seen. The one beside it however, had vomit-yellow flowers, like the vomit you'd find in the back of a shady, old bar in the downtown metropolitan area of Winnipeg. This bush's leaves were jagged and sickly. It looked like the thing had come from some mutant, radiation ridden dump.

These two bushes grew together, competing with one another for beauty. The ugly bush never won, of course. He was always laughed at by all the trees and the bushes and the ferns that grew around it. The pretty bush mocked it and mocked it, almost driving the ugly bush to suicide once or twice. The overall morale of the ugly bush was very low because it simply could not change how it looked.

One day, out of the blue, some men came along on a quiet day where the wind was barely blowing and uprooted the pretty bush. The pretty bush was hauled off to be dissected and experimented on, while the ugly bush was happily rooted in the ground. No one would take it away it realized. No one would come to tear it apart in a lab. And why? Because it was just who it was. It persevered and conquered the travails of life.

In the dark and dank year of 2002, a ten-year-old boy was exploring the local plains. He found this plant and thought the flowers looked tasty. And he was right too. He ate and he ate until the plant was nothing but a dead stem. So ended the ugly bush's life. But the ugly bush was happy to go this way because he made the boy a very happy child.

The very next day, the boy was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome and he led a very strange yet happy life.

The End.

Dan's Story- My First Interactions with People

Thank you to Dan for this brilliant story :) I hope that things are going well for you now.

Written By Dan R. Stevenson
Copyright 2011 Dan R. Stevenson

My First Interactions with People
Copyright 2011 <Todesking>

I remember my first friend growing up was this weird kid who grew up down the street from me. He lived in this rundown looking apartment complex on a hill down the street from my duplex. The apartments were known for the near do wells that lived there. Alcoholics, petty thieves, and welfare cheats at least that is what my neighbors would say about the apartment complex inhabitants. His name was John he was the same age as me we spent most of our time tearing around the neighborhood on our big wheels. John loved to go down the big hill his apartment was on with our big wheels due to the speed we would get shooting down right into the sometimes busy street doing our best to keep from getting hit by passing motorists. We only do this when my dad was working third shift so he would be asleep and my mom was busy doing housework and taking care of my two-year-old brother. We would take turns going down the hill while the other would look out for cars because of these pine trees that created a blind spot. I looked out for John so he would not get run over like a road kill raccoon. He managed to make it down the hill without any collisions with passing cars or even a near miss. When it was my turn to shoot down the hill John was giggling his little head off. He yelled get ready, set, go! On his command I went flying down hill just in time to see a red station wagon chugging down the street right in front of the hill I was going down. I remember screaming and jerking the handlebars to the side just barely avoiding hitting the car. The driver stopped to scream at me calling me a little retard as John stood there laughing hysterically at me as I still was peddling for all I was worth to get away from that driver. He was always doing that to me just about every other time I went down the hill I almost was hit by a passing vehicle I never seemed to learn not to trust him.

My first day of kindergarten was my first real interaction with groups of people. It also showed me just how different I was compared to kids the same age as me. When my mom dropped me off in the classroom the teacher told her to sit me where my name was on the table. My mom noticed that John was going to be sitting at the table with me so she told the teacher to keep us separated otherwise I would be getting in trouble with him. So he was in the room with me at least I knew someone there. He did not show up for the first day his mother forgot to wake up so I sat there by myself trying to figure out why all these kids were screaming and crying as their mothers' left the room. My mom said it was a big relief to her that I was not crying when she left. I just sat there looking out the window I had never been in a building that high before we could see the top of the tree outside the window and this amazed me we must have been three stories up. The other kids who were at the table with me kept doing their best to push me away from the table. All they would say to me was “Your weird” or “Your crazy”. They did their best to exclude me from any activity they even asked me to take off my shoes one time when we were getting ready for the bus so they could hide them. The little shits told the teacher I hid them so she began running around the room in panic mode tearing the place apart so she would not send me home in the Western New York winter in just my socks. I know she did this not because she worried I might get frostbite but she might get into trouble for letting a weird kid go home barefoot in the middle of winter. The teacher kept yelling at me “why do you keep doing things like this?” I did not do anything it was those little maladjusted brats they stuck me with. She never would listen to me when I tried to explain what had happened. When we had to play with one another the other kids took great delight in taking toys from me telling “You can’t play with that!” they would snatch the toy from me and hand me this naked badly mauled baby doll and say “This is yours, play with this!” While every other boys were building with blocks or playing with toy cars I would be staring out the window and the teacher would be staring at me and taking notes. I remember right before we were going to be going away for summer break a few of us were taken into this room. Each one of us sat at a table with a woman we never seen before, we spent the whole day talking to one of these women. I do not remember what was asked or what was said but half the people that were in that room with me made up the most of the special education classes I was put into from 1st to 10th grade. It pretty much was the same faces for ten years. I never was good at dealing with large groups of people or dealing with any type of change so in a way the special education classes I was put into made me more comfortable but they cheated me out of a proper education since we were there just to be warehoused to keep us from distracting the normal kids.

I attended kindergarten at A elementary it taught kids kindergarten to third grade but it did not teach special education classes. They housed all the special education classes 1st to 6th grade at B elementary. But at B they taught normal 4th to 6th grade classes. All the other students were five to seven years older than me my first year there so if I was caught in the bathroom by one of the normal kids it was pretty obvious I was a special education student by how much younger I was so they would beat the sh!t out of me because I was different and they were bigger than me. In second grade my teacher did not get along with me. I rocked back and forth due to stress I encountered in school. The teacher would ask my parents if I rocked at home and my parents would tell her no. I was not stressed out at home so I did not rock there. At home I was in my own little world playing with my Planet of the Apes action figures so what was going on around me was not even noticed. She told me my rocking made me look like a little mental patient and made her nervous. She first tried to stop me by tying me to my chair with a jump rope to my chair. That did not work I was still able to rock. Her next great idea was to put my desk right next to an open door so people could see my rocking at laugh at me I guess to humiliate me into stopping all that happened is that I got some strange looks but then again it was a special education class you expect the kids in that class to be a little strange. The teacher’s last attempt worked. She decided to take advantage of my daydreaming. She would creep up to me when she saw me rocking so she could slam this bid hardbound dictionary against the top of my desk causing me to jump and be startled. Right before we left for summer she broke me of the habit of rocking. But rocking was replaced with foot and knee tapping but mostly pacing. Third thru sixth grade went by pretty uneventfully the teachers were actually pretty good. In fourth grade they started a system where we had to report to a classrooms to wait for our busses. This was when I first noticed how much more desks were in the rooms. I mentioned this to a kid I played with on my street and he told all the classes were like this except mine. I asked why and he told me his parents told him not to say anything about it and I was as smart as he was. That’s when I finally realized why I was in smaller classes. They all think I am some kind of retard. I spent fourth grade thru tenth grade telling anyone who would listen I did not belong in those classes. I am as smart as all of my friends on my street. I am a better speller, I write well, I talk better, and do the same things they do as well as them I should not be in these classes.

Finally in tenth grade I threatened to drop out of school if I was not retested. I was just going in for something to do and see my friends who live to far to walk over to their houses. I figured why should I bother with school I am in second rate classes what chance would I have at college so I gave up and stopped studying. After I did the tests in tenth grade my junior year they told me I was going to be put in remedial classes to get me up to speed but when I graduated to twelfth grade I only had to take English I had enough credits to graduate so it was a little too late. They never told me if I was learning disabled or not they just booted me out of those classes. When I went for my evaluation for Aspergers syndrome at age 40 the psychologist said he saw no signs of learning disabilities. He told me I was robbed of a proper education I would have benefited from a proper science or English class I believe, who knows how my life would have turned out all my friends went to college while I bounced around from one low paying job to another.

Monday, 11 July 2011

My Story- Trying to Discover Myself

I have to admit that it's pretty long and still doesn't cover more things than it does cover- but bear with me :) I'll almost definitely re-write it for another time but this will do for now.

I could probably write for a long time all about my story but that would bore a lot of you and I don’t have time to write an entire autobiography! So I’ll try and keep it fairly short and sweet. It’ll still probably be quite long, though, knowing me.

I remember so many strange details about my life. I was born in the UK to Mum, who had moved here from the Mediterranean area, and Dad who had lived in England for his entire life. I was an only child, even though my Mum had wished to have more children. She gave up, sadly, after having five miscarriages. I’ll start from when I was around four years old. We had moved to a fairly large rented house, and I was just about to start primary school. Mum was working writing articles from home for some magazines while Dad refused to get any sort of long-term job. He was fired from several jobs and had a tendency to stay up all night long and then sleep in late. Mum was furious about his irresponsibility but she couldn’t do anything about it.

I was always different. I suppose we all knew that to some extent, though we never made such a big fuss about it. As a small child I had plenty of dolls, and I have photographs of me arranging them all in size order. I suppose my play was different to that of some other children’s. I can’t remember much about starting school, but there are a few memories that stand out. I remember being misunderstood a lot. The teacher’s thought I was being deliberately difficult even though I wasn’t. I was constantly told off by a particular teacher for one thing or another- pretending to be a cat, being clumsy.

To me I was just normal even though I was slightly different. I learnt things quickly and could read from an early age. I loved reading and being read to. I found it difficult to get on with other children in my class, who would convince me that I was their friend and then ultimately do something horrible and then blame me for it time and time again. I remember being left out and forlorn and always being too trusting of them and falling for the same thing. It seemed I was never good enough. In class I was told to go and stand in the corner. In ballet class I was told to go and sit on the bench, until I came home crying and never went again.

My parents were by that time starting to have a lot of arguments. I didn’t know how to cope with it all. I remember crawling under the table in the living room and curling up into a ball where I cried while my parents argued. I can’t honestly remember anything that seems abnormal to me, but I can’t remember everything.

My parents split up when I was six and a lot of change followed. It was with change and over time that I can start remembering things which I can recognise as AS traits. I lived with my grandparents for three years. I took things very literally then, and was upset about a lot of jokes because I didn’t understand them! I was in trouble with my grandfather a few times because I “told him off” about manners! I suppose there was a lot of misunderstanding and confusion sometimes and I didn’t quite know how to control myself at other times. I remember hitting a poor girl and being dragged home by my grandma. I also remember screaming the house down as she dragged me through the hallway, struggling to get away and knocking against the cupboard and giving myself a black eye in the process. This was when I was about eight.

A lot of this is probably very boring and irrelevant but I’d probably have to ask my family about times when I was that young. I can remember a lot more things from when I moved back to live with my parents when I was nine, so I’ll write for a bit about that.

It was obviously a huge change coming back to the UK. I hated travelling on the airplane. The air pressure was absolutely horrible and for some reason hurt my ears which was incredibly strange to my parents. I was half screaming on the journey and crying because they hurt and I was nine years old. I just wanted to go home after the journey. A guard had to ask me a question to check my passport was right- which was hard because I’d not been speaking English for three years and wasn’t quite sure how to answer. I panicked a little bit. I didn’t know how to say the date. I remembered saying it before as one thousand nine hundred and ninety seven, but my Mum had said that wasn’t how you were meant to say it in England.

I hung my head and refused to speak. Mum had to beg me to open my mouth and eventually they let us past.

I have a lot of memories of being really sensitive to things, for instance certain sounds, air pressure and clothing materials especially. We lived in a flat for about a year. Certain clothes and clothes labels drove me crazy and so did certain sounds. I was a picky eater, too, which was a problem. I started school and it was hard because this is when I became aware of being so different. People thought that I was a boffin and I spoke really formally having come back to England. I was scared and didn’t know quite what to say to everybody’s questions. Eventually people just left me alone to pace the school playground. A teacher asked a girl to go and talk to me when she saw me alone, and she tried to help. We became friends even though we had misunderstandings, and I guess that I followed her everywhere, because I was lost without her.

I was diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder when I was twelve. The person who diagnosed me said that it was Asperger’s Syndrome apart from the fact that he didn’t know how my language development was because of bilingual background and one of the criteria is no delay- even though I knew I’d had no delay he couldn’t be sure because of all the complication with everything.

It was my secondary school who recognised AS when I started secondary school. It was another huge change and I was overwhelmed. Social relationships suddenly became so much harder, too. A friend tells me that on the first day I just sat alone and stared into space and didn’t really talk to anyone. I started arguing a lot with my parents at home, and at school I was disorganised and things fell apart. I embarrassed myself, everybody seemed to hate me and I felt generally not good enough. I ripped up tests, shut myself off and refused to participate in things when I just couldn’t, and hit and yelled at a girl because I’d thought she was ignoring me when in truth she hadn’t heard me. The school saw a lot of characteristics of AS and sent a letter home.

We went for the diagnosis and I didn’t say a thing, instead sitting there. I actually didn’t reply to one question I was asked. I was against going, and I had no idea what AS was. I wish I hadn’t now, but at the time I thought it was a way of my parents blaming me for our arguments.

So I told my parents I didn’t want to know about it, and then went back to school to try and pick things up. I didn’t find out about the diagnoses of ASD and dyspraxia until I was thirteen, about a year ago.

I’m finding out a lot more about it now and finally seeing that the diagnosis is definitely right. I doubt the diagnosis of dyspraxia, though, and might be reassessed. There’s no doubt now that I’m an “aspie”, as some call it, though.

I’ve struggled with a lot of things and still find some things hard though obviously things have changed. I attempted suicide three times in April. I can only describe it as kind of having lost myself, in a way, and it’s scary how that can happen. I have self-harmed for a while by cutting, too, but am trying to stop that as I know it’s not the best coping mechanism. I’m trying now to figure myself out. There are obviously a lot of parts of AS that I haven’t covered here but that mean that I am diagnosed with it. I struggle with things but I’m trying to work out ways to get through the teenage years, which are no fun, and many people agree! Hopefully things will improve. I am getting help because of self-harm/suicide attempts but at the moment finding that it’s not really working. It’s “talking therapy” and I find it hard to really talk to somebody. The truth is that I’m often not sure what’s normal and what’s not, and what’s worth talking about. I sometimes wish I could spend a day in somebody else’s head just to know what it’s like!