“When I was in school, I didn’t really feel a lot of social pressure because I usually went to a room where pupils with learning difficulties or anything similar would socialise in the school break and lunch time. It was called the ‘Social Base’ and this is where I found my best friends. We have remained friends ever since. As a result, I never really experienced my personal struggles, which are noise and the smell of certain things.
I think social bases in schools really help pupils fit in, make new friends and help with communication skills. I eventually got the confidence to leave the Social Base to socialise with other pupils, but ended up just watching people around me instead of getting involved myself.
It was probably harder to explain autism to my teachers because they would have to find out my needs for the classroom and schoolwork. But there was one teacher from secondary school who completely understood me. He was my guidance teacher and helped me with things like social skills.”