On the Spectrum by Samantha McLucas I have an Autism Spectrum Disorder. This was diagnosed when I was eight years old. My mum has told me this means my brain is wired differently from everyone else. I can hear and see things better than most, but my sense of smell is terrible. A scent has to be extra strong for me to smell it, but the slightest sound, like the ticking of a clock, can irritate me beyond reason. Taste is also a sense which is heightened with Autism. I am super fussy about food, especially in public. I think texture is probably the main thing and perhaps also the smell. I always knew I was different, even before I knew I was autistic. In national school I could never fit in, or feel comfortable. To be honest I still can't really fit in, well not the way I would like to anyway. I realised much later on that this is a common problem for people with Autism. Autism means a real lack of social skills. When I am in a shop I get really worked up when I have to pay for something, or if I’m eating out and have to order something. My heart starts to race and I feel like getting sick. I think I have grown to really hate Autism. It’s a mean thing to say, but I don't like hanging around with teens who have obvious Autism. Not that I have anything against them personally, but I just don't want people judging me or thinking that I’m weird. I suppose I just want to be the same as everyone else. My Autism is not that obvious, people wouldn’t know unless I mentioned it, but I still think that people do know. I guess I’m just paranoid, right? But when people treat me nicely in public, I always think they are just doing so because they feel sorry for me. I can't talk about this to many people, not even my mum, because she thinks I’m just pitying myself. And maybe I am, I don’t know. But surely I should be able to do this, right? There is only one benefit I can think of to being on the spectrum; I am an artist or so I am told in any case. My art work hangs proudly on the walls of our school, two pieces. Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol were aautistic, too. So maybe if I didn't have Autism I wouldn't be artistic, or musical. Well that's what my parents say anyway. Autism runs in my family. On my dad’s side mostly. My little brother is eleven, he has Asperger’s Syndrome. He used to be so hyper, but he has calmed down a lot recently He has an amazing mind. He can retain so many facts, about science mainly. He seems to have a photographic memory and he is extremely analytical. I think one day he will be an amazing scientist. Maybe there will be both an artist and a scientist in our family in the future. My older brother is also on the spectrum; he is probably the most affected of us all. In his mind he is six years old, not a nineteen-year-old. He thinks nothing of running over to people to hug them just like a child would, the difficulty is that he is six-foot tall and weighs over thirteen stone. This can be quite scary for people who don’t understand. He also stims a lot with his hands...Stimming is a repetitive series of actions used by autistic people to self soothe. He also talks repetitively, if he is angry he will re-enact a scene of conflict from a movie. It can be very difficult to understand at times, and to deal with. So yes, you could say this is tough for my parents. My mum worked with autistic children before she had children, so in a way, maybe she was prepared. But it is still really hard for both my parents because they have not one, not two, but three autistic children to care for. They do not like to admit this, but I know this is true. I would love to go to Art College someday, but I often worry that I will not be accepted because of my Autism. I will continue to pursue this ambition, because I know that anything is possible. I am who I am, I cannot change this. So I will fight to make the most of the opportunities that present themselves, as I negotiate my way through this often confusing world of ours. Robin Williams said, “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world” I really hope he’s right! 61

63 Publizr Home

You need flash player to view this online publication