- Nikita, Lorie and Mirie Shanks have written blogs for ITV News Central about what life is like living with autism. These are their views which they are sharing with us.
- Nikita's story
Being Autistic doesn’t bother me but I don’t like to tell people as soon as I meet them in case they judge me on it, I prefer to wait until I know them a little better so they know me as ‘me’.
I don’t really focus on the fact that I’m autistic, although there are times when I do something and wonder if it’s because of my autism, especially if it’s something I don’t see other people doing.
I don’t remember being told that I was autistic, I just grew up knowing I was and talking about it to my mum. It really helped me to know because I could ask questions and understand myself better and work things out.
I still find communication hard but I’ve learnt strategies that help me and I’m not afraid to ask now as I’ve become more confident. Sometimes people will use sayings that I haven’t heard before which I find really confusing, but people don’t mind explaining what they mean.
My one wish would be for people to understand that autism isn’t the huge disability for most of us that people think it is and give us more opportunities to show our unique talents. Attitudes really do need to change!
- Lorie's story
When you hear the word autism, think honestly, what springs to mind? A boy? A troubled child with a tendency to cause a scene when in public at the worst possible moments?
Someone who struggles socially and finds it difficult to make friends. Has difficulty with a certain smell, texture or taste? If that’s what you think when you hear the word… You aren’t the only one.
But did you notice those points are all negative or stereotypical? Why has this perception of Autism become so negative? Something I truly live by in life is you have a choice. The way you think is a choice. You can think something positive is negative and vice versa.
When I was told I had Asperger’s Syndrome I was 5 years old. I remember the moment clearly. My mother sat me down on the sofa and explained what autism was and what it meant.
My mum made the whole experience so positive that I was incredibly proud to be autistic. If it weren’t for my mother explaining to me at such a young age something that made me who I am with such passion and happiness I don’t think I’d be who I am today.
Autism is an ability not a disability. I am proof that autism if nurtured and understood positively, is a superpower.
- Mirie's story
When I get asked to explain "What is Autism?", I never have any clue how to answer. Autism affects everyone in completely different ways, making anyone with autism completely unique.
I know in my head what I struggle with, but find it extremely difficult to put into words. Hence why I'm currently struggling to explain what I personally find difficult.
I think I also can't differentiate what are autistic traits or just normal everyday struggles for every human being.
Something I can tell you, is how I usually feel in social or new situations. I'm good at showing that I am completely calm and understand what's being said me, but deep down inside, I'm screaming.
I wish I could give a more defined answer as to what autism is and how to deal with it. But to be honest, I really struggle to put that into any sort of description.
But if anyone ever needs any help, I'm here with an open hand and ears to listen.