Guest column: Why I’m proud to say I’m autistic...

Oliver Tyler
Oliver Tyler

As National Autism Month gets under way, Blidworth teenager Oliver Tyler talks about his experience with the condition and how he’s overcome ignorance and bullying and come to terms with autism.

Primary school is a daunting time for any child but for someone with autism it is a living nightmare.

My mother told me who I am, when I was only 9 years old.

My first reaction was “never mind”, though as my childhood progressed darkness started to surround my autism because of the children, they didn’t understand me or why I did the things I did.

They may have darkened my spirits but I just shined even brighter and fought for my pride and honour, so I confronted my greatest fear.

Telling my classmates about my autism.

I expected them to laugh but they just stopped. And listened to me speak about who I am.

At that moment I felt like I was floating on air, I felt infinite.

From then on I wore my autism like a medal because for once I was proud to say I am different.

However, my battle for respect was not over.

Secondary school came like a raging storm bringing in the unknown.

Spending nearly two years there, I started to realise the children were not aware of autism or how it affects people.

I tried to enlighten them to the world of autism but their immaturity and ignorance clouded their judgements and the bullying started again, forcing me to bury my true self deep down to fit in with the others.

After a while I stopped trying to fit in so I hid away from everyone, destroying everything I had worked for.

Years later and I’m in college, hoping to become a writer and I couldn’t be happier. My only regret is that I let those people make me feel ashamed to be who I am.

I should have held my head up high and ignored them.

I now realise that I and other autistic people should stand up and say I am proud to be autistic because autism is a gift and no one should ever have to hide their gift.

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