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Sunday 20 Apr 2014

From the Inside and Outside – by Charlotte

As a child I was different in a way that seemed unexplainable, I was given labels that did not fit and no real answers to why I was that way. So I carried on through the mental health system seeing Dr after Dr with many a counselor or therapist along the way. School was not the place for me it only made me feel unwell and added to my difficulties, there I never got the help and support I need largely due to no one knowing why I was the way I was. As I grew and left school early unable to cope with that way of life I drifted seemingly strangely into further education as an adult and working with children particularly those with special needs.

I grew on the outside and my visible behaviours changed though inside I was and am still the same the only difference being I am gaining an ever growing deeper understanding and recognition of myself, my feelings and experiences enabling me to deal with them in different ways to back then. So working in a school for children with communication difficulties I began to see parts of myself now a previously within some of them (those on the autistic spectrum). I learnt from them and my colleagues who alongside me cared for them.

I began to aspire to grater things though with a degree of self doubt that I could achieve them due to my history. My feeling of being like some of them to a degree and sensing I had a special empathy with them was clarified when following self recognition my belief that I myself was on the autistic spectrum was confirmed when I was 25. From that point, as now, it never made anything but sense to my past and present though did make me again question my abilities to achieve my dreams. Determined though as I am and have always been, though sometimes too greatly for my own good, I pushed on not willing to give up.

I re entered full-time education as an adult determined to get where I wanted to be though with an element of disbelief I could actually achieve it. The road was by no means straight and easy and that is still very much the case, yet I have completed amongst other things a year’s college course and three years at university as an undergraduate with a degree of disbelief when sitting at my own graduation and still now. Today as I write this I am training to be a speech and language therapist on a full-time intensive postgraduate course , what I always wanted, but still in disbelief that I am actually here doing such a thing when I myself am on the autistic spectrum.

At present my aim is still to work with children though this may change as in September I move into the second and final year of my course where we focus mainly on adults within the second year. My autism will always be a part of who I am and I will always face challenges and difficulties that others may not, but traveling through the world of both someone on the autistic spectrum and a professional working with those on the spectrum I feel may give me a unique incite few others will have.