My name is Alfie, I am thirteen years old and enjoying my time in year eight.
Starting secondary school gave me the opportunity to make lots of new friends and to meet lots of new people. Whilst I was looking forward to this, I also was wondering if I should tell them about me having autism. On one side of the coin telling people helps because if you are having a tricky kind of day people can support you and they will also stand more chance of understanding some of your uniqueness. However, on the other side of the coin it can be hard or a bit worrying to tell people because you are concerned that they might not understand your autism or treat you differently.
Luckily, I haven’t had any negatives from sharing my autism with others.
Here are some top tips to help:
- Your autism is part of you and is nothing to hide from or be ashamed of. I might not like my autism all of the time because it can make some things difficult but it’s stuff you can learn from and your autism can give you skills that others don’t have. Embrace it and be confident, this will show others that autism is nothing to be bothered by.
- Be honest about having autism – don’t hide it. Your true friends will accept it and want to help you if you need it. My friends are not fussed that I have autism. If anything they might ask about what it is like and look out for me.
- Explain what your autism is like for you. This means that people will treat you as an individual.
- Share your special interests and look for others who like the same things. This means that you will have hobbies to share and a starting point to build a friendship from. Most of my friends love football like me and this means that I always have a subject in common to talk to them about.
- You don’t have to say that you’re autistic if you don’t want to. I made friends first and told them afterwards. It really is up to you how much or how little you say.
Most of my friends already knew someone that is autistic and shared this with me. This made me realise that I am not on my own. The most important bit of advice I can share is that people either will like you or not regardless of if you have autism. It is important that you recognise that true friends like you for you and your autism is part of what makes you special, unique and brilliant!
Resources to support Autism
Here at TTS our extensive collection of autism resources provide you with the tools you need to make your teaching space a welcoming and accommodating environment for all your students. From activities aimed to encourage talking about feelings and emotions through to communication aids, our selection of autism resources for schools is designed to support your students on the autism spectrum.
With thanks to Alfie and Beccie (Alfie’s mum).
Beccie (also known as Mrs Hawes) is Head of Service with Rushall Inclusion Advisory Team. Beccie’s team works with a number of different schools offering support, advice and challenge regarding all aspects of inclusive policy, practice and procedure.
Beccie says ” Along with the day job, I also have the pleasure and privilege of being Alfie’s mum! Alfie has been working really hard with our local Occupational Therapy team and is currently undergoing diagnostic processes for Developmental Coordination Delay and an Autism Spectrum Condition. His resources have certainly made a big difference to him and he is keen to share his experiences so that others can be helped too.”