Having Asperger’s syndrome is like a road. Sometimes it’s a nice smooth journey around the countryside and other times it is a stressful dash to the airport. You’re worried about missing your flight. I have known about my diagnosis for 3 months, but I have had it all my life, I am 11 and a half. Because of the restrictions I had to have a Zoom call instead of a face-to-face assessment. I was nervous beforehand but the three doctors I saw put me at ease, my parents sat with me for the first part of the call then I spoke with the doctors alone for a while. The meeting lasted about an hour and by the end they gave me my diagnosis. When I found out I felt slightly overwhelmed. I felt lots of feelings at once. Exhilaration, happiness, sadness but just genuinely excited because I knew from then on, I would know about my Asperger’s and all the experiences that had confused me before now made sense. When I’m at home I can relax and completely be myself, however when I’m in school it feels like I’m an English person in a class of French people. I have to work hard to cope with the strain that brings, and I also mask my behaviour in order to fit in which is extremely tiring both physically and emotionally. I find it hard to keep friends and to communicate with my peers or to make new friends. Sometimes people talk about subjects I have no clue about, but I use something called the ‘social fake’ and I just nod, pretending to understand. I struggle in class occasionally because there are 30 children in it, and I find the noise overwhelming at times. My classroom sounds like a riot. My teacher supports me a lot and I appreciate that. I usually walk to school with one friend but sometimes we bump into another group of children and the person I’m with wants to join them. I find it hard to socialise in large groups and I feel I’m being forced to say yes but unfortunately that leaves me feeling isolated. I walk with them, but I never really chat and when I do, I might say something that sets everyone off talking so they totally block me out which makes me feel lonely and sad. I find it easier to be with only one or two people because it makes it a bit easier to follow the conversation. People with Asperger’s have to manually process all forms of communication one at a time: verbal, gesticulations, speech inflections, facial expressions where as neurotypical people do all of this processing all at once and subconsciously. On one occasion when meeting friends in the park I felt so uncomfortable I left the group and came home. Playdates can be a challenge. I’ve not really been invited over to my friends’ house very often. So that’s Asperger’s syndrome and me.
"I feel absolutely ecstatic that I won the competition, I’m practically bouncing off the walls of my house, unlucky to those who tried and lost but I just feel so great that I won. For me to win something is a huge achievement for I rarely win things. I am glad I won because my whole family is being supportive and is cheering me on through these tough times, my family is the best thing and is the most valuable thing to me, they are my treasure. Once again, I am deeply grateful for my victory and thank you! Everyone!"