This is Jordan. She was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at the age of 3.
She writes the “JUST Jordan” newsletter about topics that affect her as an autistic person.
She is passionate about raising awareness about autism, and has won several awards for her voluntary work at the National Autistic Society.
My life at school with autism
When I was at school, I always felt the need to tell everyone I met, my classmates, about the fact I am autistic so that everyone knew why I acted differently from other people. Their reaction was mostly that they didn’t know what autism was so I explained it to them, in the most simple way I could.
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 who would come to help me if need be, for example: helping me with social skills.
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 socialize in the school break and lunch time. It was called the “Social Base” and this is where I found my best friends and 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. However, I eventually got the confidence to leave the “Social Base” to socialize with other pupils, but ended up just watching people around me instead of getting involved myself.
Bullying at school
School wasn’t exactly all sunshine as I did have to confront bullies. If school life could be made better for young people with autism in one way, it would have to be how to deal with bullies. Bullies would need to understand how they upset others and would need to be educated that others are different in their own way and that they should not be criticised. If they are curious about someone, then the bullies should ask an appropriate question which doesn’t offend the other person.
For advice about autism and to find out what support you can get, contact the National Autistic Society Scotland.