I’m Mark. I am 16 years old and I have lots of disabilities, including autism.

I was 10 ½ when my mum finally got the doctors to say ‘yes he has autism’. Overall I’m not bothered by being called autistic, but when people look on the internet or make jokes about autism, I can get offended by it.

Being autistic does mean who I am, but it’s a part of my personality, nothing else. It does NOT define who I am! I enjoy Minecraft and fortnite, my X-box/switch games. I am learning to ride a scooter, when this lockdown is over I am looking forward to having lessons again.

I miss my friends, but we video-call so it is not as bad. I miss volunteering with autism groups because I like hanging around with other kids like me. Primary school was ok. I had a couple of good friends and one of them had a teaching assistant who would help me when I needed it. Sometimes she would take just the two of us to do fun activities which I enjoyed.

High school was hard. I didn’t get as much help that I needed and things were confusing sometimes. Mum says that I am a grey area kid because I need help but I don’t look bad enough to get it. I have left school now (im happy I do not have to take the exams haha), and I am looking forward to going to Runshaw college (hopefully) in September.

I want to study childcare and in the future I would love to work as a holiday childcare rep. In 2019, I won an award at the North West Charity Awards. It was Young ambassador of the year. I felt like it was a dream, and am very thankful for the help my family and the charities I have both been helped by, and now volunteer with, gave me.
I look forward to seeing all my friends again!