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MY NAME is Tyler, am 11 years old and have Asperger syndrome – which is on the autistic spectrum. I like to be reminded it’s not just me, there are other people like this. My interests include Nintendo, mathematics, physics and coding.
I have been described on many occasions by friends as a quirky professor type. I find this analogy very satisfying. I have learnt when something or someone is different, most neurotypical people feel the need to generalise and place your behaviour in a box – or categorise you.
People like to make sense of your behaviour and why you appear to act differently. I aim to be a professor in maths and science one day so perceiving me as the nutty professor is how people cope with me being different, how they put me into a category and I take this as a compliment.
I have lessons at home now because the school I was at didn’t understand me. They knew I had Asperger’s, which means I have high-functioning autism. When I say “high functioning”, the assumption is I have autism but I am able to function, to fit in, to be normal, just with a few quirks.
This is not the case. I have autism. I have sensory processing difficulties. I also get pain in my joints, I have a developmental co-ordination disorder that makes it difficult for me to run or even walk in a straight line at times.
I have grab rails fitted at home to help me get out of the bath unaided and get up and down stairs safely. I am not ashamed of having these aids. All they do is allow daily living to be manageable for me. Does it change the person I am? Am I less able to read a book or achieve my potential because I find things more challenging? No, not at all.
Children like myself are forgotten. We are ignored by the educational system but the knock on to our mental health is disgraceful. We are the invisible children. We achieve high grades, we hand in our homework on time.
We will not cause you problems in the classroom, we will be polite and will follow instructions to the letter because this is Asperger’s. I became depressed and had a nervous breakdown because I could not cope any more in an environment that didn’t understand my needs. The word “depression” had never been mentioned but this was me.
I felt as if I was being punished for being autistic. In Year Five I spent nearly all of my time alone in the school corridor. How can you be punished for being you? When I became depressed I lost my love of learning.
I no longer desired a book the moment I got out of bed, nor did I care about maths. The core of who I was and what drives me was gone. I didn’t function and simple tasks became arduous. I remember rocking on the floor, shouting out sounds and I remember my mum sleeping on the floor next to my bed.
Read more at: https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/1012660/Children-like-me-are-just-invisible-Tyler-Inman-Asperger-syndrome