Saturday, 14 June 2014

A letter to my 10-year old self

This was originally posted on the AuKids website last year. As I have been posting about living with Asperger's Syndrome and schooling, I thought this would be apt to go on here. So here it is:

If you knew something about yourself as an adult which you didn't as a child, what would you say to your ten-year-old self in a letter? This is what Julie Day would say having been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome as an adult.

Dear Ten-year-old Julie

It's 1981 and in September you will be starting secondary school. You see the building, and will think, 'oh my, it's big.' This will make you believe it is why you are shy. You will find it hard to fit in, as most of the class has either paired or grouped up, leaving you on your own.

You will be quiet and hardworking. You will find it hard to make friends by yourself, and will be too shy to speak out in class. Unfortunately, due to being shy you will be bullied by both a girl you know from primary school and a group of girls who are older than you. This is probably because they see you as different and vulnerable. You will get the better of them. After some time you will either ignore the older girls or speak up to them and that will shock them to leave you alone. They will leave school after a couple of years. When the other girl tries to retaliate, you will get told off by the teacher. It comes to a head when you get her mum involved by getting her to come to the school to see the headmistress. It won't be for a while that things start looking up, but they will, so take heart. When you do decide to volunteer to read out in class, your heart will race and you will be very nervous. And you will do it, although shakily. Things are better for you when you start the sixth form, where you will be doing a business studies diploma. Because this is something you want to do, you will get on with it all right and feel that you are fitting in more.

I am writing to you because as an adult I now know that there's a reason for your shyness. You have Asperger's Syndrome, a low form of autism. Asperger's Syndrome/autism is often called social awkwardness because people with it find it hard to communicate with others, so don't make friends easily. This is why you couldn't and only able to tag on to groups of girls, and make friends that way. If this had been known back then, I feel that life would've been a lot different for you. In that you might have gone to a school specially for autistic children or the teachers would've supported you more if they'd known about you.

So there is a reason that things happen and why you are like you are. Have faith in that, because you do make one friend, whom you meet via a group of girls you latch on to, and you'll see during your adult life. So, it's not all bad. Good does come out of your secondary school years, even if for most of it you find it hard to cope with. Light is at the end of the tunnel, even if it appears years later!

From Adult Julie
So, if you know something about yourself as an adult that you didn't as a child, what would you say to your child self? Be interested to know.
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