I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in December 1995, aged 13. Throughout my schooling, I remained in a mainstream, comprehensive school.
Like most children, I began primary school at age 4. This school had around 300 pupils. At this point neither my parents nor my teachers knew or understood what Asperger’s Syndrome was, and whilst people around me thought there was something not quite right, no one was able to pinpoint the problem I had or identify the type support I needed.
I moved into a small village school when I was 8, during which time I was identified as a person with Asperger’s Syndrome. After being back-classed one year, I moved to a large secondary school, with over 1100 students. Here I passed my GCSE’s in 1999, and went on into the school sixth form to study A-Levels, and sat my exams in 2001.
The relative lack of knowledge and awareness about Asperger’s Syndrome during my school years meant that going to school was a challenging and sometimes daunting experience. School staff, as well as my parents, learned much about the condition during this time, and many consider me to be the person who has continually raised other people’s awareness about Asperger’s Syndrome, due to the difficulties I encountered.
My experiences in mainstream education have enabled me to speak clearly and openly about the needs of individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome, to describe and convey the thought-processes and feelings of a person with Aspergers in different situations, and to discuss the best ways to work with such people, all from personal experience.
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