REACH North West
Reaching their true potential
Slide

Shanon

Autism and Me

About me

My name is Shannon. I am 19 years old and I have what is known as high functioning Autism. I don’t know about you, but I think it should just be autism, everybody with autism is the same but unique in their own ways so I believe it is wrong to say words like high functioning and severe autism.

All people with autism are different but I’m going to talk about autism and me.

Communication

People with ASD communicate in different ways and this is because we struggle with communicating. The way I communicate depends on who I’m talking with. My friends at college I message, my tutors I communicate verbally and over email and my family and boyfriend I use the phone and face to face communication.

Some people with autism like to write down what they want to say, I used to use this method of communication a lot and found it quite helpful, so would highly recommend this method if you struggle talking about your problems.

Friendship

I think most people think autistic people don’t have many friends and TV programmes about autism also show this, like The A word shows Joe always on his own and Atypical shows Sam only has one friend. This is the case for me I don’t really remember much of my primary school experience but in high school I only had one friend, she’s still my friend now but I don’t see her a lot anymore and when I do I get nervous and don’t really speak much. In high school I also used to sit next to this tree on my own.

At sixth form I made a few friends but mainly in my second year, I also talked to some A levels who I stay in contact with now.

School life

My high school wasn’t incredibly good, I didn’t really get any support. When I got my diagnosis, they allowed me an hour a week of speech and language. After high school I moved onto a sixth form which had two classrooms for Pathways which was a group of students who struggled with daily tasks and needed a little extra support. I loved it here the classes were small, highest of 6 pupils in a class and I was supported a lot.

Currently I am in college studying a level 3 Extended Diploma in Health and Social care and I feel I am doing quite well.

My calm down space

Everybody, not just autistic people but neurotypicals too like to have a place where they can go and be alone. For me this is my bedroom, I share a room with my sister, but I go on the top bunk and listen to music. I find music really helps to calm me when I’m stressed and make me happy.

Feelings and Emotions

A lot of people with ASD struggle with their feelings and emotions, I am one of them. I feel over the years I have improved as five years ago I thought everything was either happy, sad, or mad. Personally, with my feelings I struggle processing them and if something is on my mind, I find it hard to talk and let it build up which usually causes a meltdown.

I am very literal, not even five years ago I took idioms very literally. Some of the sayings were:

  • It’s raining cats and dogs – I used to think this literally meant cats and dogs but now I know it means it’s raining a lot.
  • Thinking outside of the box – this means to think differently but not even 2 years ago a teacher said this and I spent ages looking for a box thinking to myself how we can when there’s no box in here.

To help me learn I went over idiom cards and remembered them.

Good things and Achievements in my life

The word autistic doesn’t define people and it doesn’t mean they can’t do or achieve things in their lives. I have done many good things:

  • I passed my GCSE’s except for my Maths. I didn’t feel id do well and I don’t think everybody else did either the way they reacted when I got my results. I feel really proud of myself and it proved to me just because I’m autistic I can still do things that neurotypicals do.
  • In sixth form we took part in Arts Award, which is like Drama to help us gain confidence. One play we did was Cinderella, they gave me the part playing the guest because I was really quiet. One of the lessons the step sister wasn’t in and I had to step in, I did really well at it so they offered me the part of the step sister.
  • The pathways area at sixth form was separate from A levels, we had assemblies with A levels though and were encouraged to eat down in the hub with A levels. In my first year I started talking to two A levels who were the Worship co-ordinaters. I still talk to one of them now sometimes even though I don’t see him. In my second year I started to see these three A levels and would eat lunch next to them and occasionally talk to them. I am now in a relationship with one of them and have been for a year.
  • In my current college I have completed two placements, one at a supported living house for people with mental health issues and the other in an old peoples home. The supported living one was too much for me it was loud and scary most times and there was no help or support of the staff regarding my autism.
  • My all-time proudest achievement was when I had an audition for the Tv soap Hollyoaks. I applied and they sent me a script to learn, I managed to memorise all of the lines. I didn’t get offered the part, but they were impressed at how well I did especially at remembering the lines, so they said they are keeping my details. I also got a sneaky peak at the set and met Nicki Sanderson and Ruby ‘o’ Donnel.>

I wouldn’t be who I am today or have achieved all of the amazing things without the support of my family and friends, especially my Mum and Step- mum.

Thank you for taking the time to read about My Autism and me.

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