My name is William. I am an eleven year old boy with Autism Spectrum Disorder and a Learning Disability. Because I am not able to, my Mum is going to tell you my story. 

I live a very happy and content life with my parents and two younger sisters; Scarlett & Penelope. My family say that I am great company to be around and bring a lot of love and joy to everyone’s life. I like doing the regular things which 12 year olds do, playing on my iPad, swimming, riding my bike and bouncing on my trampoline (and sometimes my bed). Although from the outside I may not appear different, unlike most other 12 year olds, I experience the world around me very differently. My main difference is that the area of my brain that governs language is significantly affected, so I do not have any expressive language and my receptive language is extremely limited to. This means that I have a really tricky time communicating my needs and thoughts and also understanding what others are saying to me. This can be really tough and frustrating at times and I can cry and get cross at the people around me. I have started to use a communication device in the last couple I years, it’s not easy because I have a severe learning disability, but I can now ask for things like a bag of crisps or to go to the park. Mum says that it’s amazing that she can now hear what I am thinking!

Another area that my ASD affects is my processing of sensory stimuli. I’m extremely hypersensitive to noise, a baby crying is like torture to me and I become very upset and cry out in pain. Because I know that noises causes me so much discomfort, I’m anxious of places and people who I think might make noise, I can be terrified if I'm in a busy environment and rely on my mum and dad to help me when I become overwhelmed as I don’t have any awareness of danger and could dash out into a busy road or go off with a stranger. My youngest sister is now four but I still can’t tolerate being in the same room as her more than a couple of minutes, before I have to run away. This is because I remember her crying as a baby and I am scared that she will do it again. My sensory processing differences aren’t t all bad though. I fling my arms in the air, flap and giggle when I feel a breeze blow against my hair, it makes me smile from ear to ear and I love to be tickled, kissed and cuddled. I also love to feel and smell certain things like my mum’s hair. I don’t care that this might not be usual behaviour, I just enjoy the moment.

I am also lucky that because I don’t understand much about the world around me, I also don’t have many of the worries that other people might do. I don’t have to worry about exams or moving to high school, I don’t think about what people think of me or how they judge me when I do something that they find strange, social constructs and norms just aren’t important to me. I live a relatively care free life and my parents try hard to make sure that it will continue to be that way.

Two years ago my family was chosen to appear on DIY SOS the Big Build. I wasn’t really aware of what was happening and I still haven’t watched the show but my mum says that it was a really big deal. They made me an amazing, sound proof bedroom downstairs, which has doors straight onto our garden; I love it and now sleep so much better at night. I was also gifted a communication device from Tobi Dynavox which has made such a difference to my life. My family will always be super grateful.

I don’t see myself as being unfortunate.

I am just me. William.