January 2016

Hi There, Jordan here.


Today I want to talk to you a little bit about my life and autism.

Back in 2013 I was told about ILEAP Charity, and I was recommended a club I could join, for children with Autism/ Asperger’s syndrome. I went to have a look and I fell in love with it. I took the first opportunity I could to become a member of the club.


Just over 2 years later (September 2015), I decided to apply for a Staff role for the charity as a volunteer, so I went and had an interview and got the job. Now, 4 months later, I’m a very happy chap, and I really enjoy the charity work I do, and I’m looking forward to getting involved with the Together we act 4 day drama workshop with IDS over Easter for the third time running!

Many people know I aspire to be a member of support staff in a secondary school, so I can offer support to those who need it, just like I was given support. I feel the work I do for ILEAP and IDS gives me great experience for the role, and I think it helps me to learn more about the skills and responsibilities. People often think I learn from the staff, and I gather a mixture of techniques that I see then put them into use, which is often true, but not as much as you would think. I feel I learn most from the amazing group of students I work with. They give me chances to show my leadership, tell me what they enjoy doing from the things I do. But the main thing I learn from them is what they find most comforting in a difficult situation, which really helps me gain more practical skills that are vital for a support worker to have, to enable a successful, trustworthy relationship with autistic students.


Since the start of October in 2015, I started to work with some year 7 students at my school, which has given me a real taster of what it’s like to be a support worker even more. Over time my students have given me more trust. This gives me a true understanding of what they are going through in life, and makes me think about how unfair life can be on an autistic person.



I think gaining an education is like working in a factory. Everyone has to learn the same curriculum, everyone has to sit the same exams, and it is not personalized to suit people. I believe an education is like a cloning factory, trying to force everyone to be the same. The end goal of it is to pass all your exams. Which shouldn’t be the goal in life. Why is life based upon the GCSE grades you got? Should it really be based upon that? Just because you’re not academic, doesn’t mean that should affect your future, and for someone with autism the curriculum can be very difficult at times, as you are not able to understand it or interpret it. But why should that effect your future? Although there are ‘special schools’ that have a more basic curriculum, that still doesn’t suit everyone.


Let’s look at some famous people with autism, and see how successful they have been in life, although going through an education system which isn’t as supportive as today:

Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft, Diagnosed with autism.

Susan Boyle, Singer (Britain’s got talent), Diagnosed with autism.

Robin Williams, Actor, Diagnosed with autism.


All these people diagnosed with autism had their difficulties in school, and had their strengths and weaknesses. Although not passing every single subject at the top grade, they still took the grades they got, and made a success out of their life.


Let’s go back in time and look at a different example.

Albert Einstein, a German scientist specializing in physics, diagnosed with autism. He had learning difficulties, and look at him, he was one of the most famous scientists in history. Proving that he didn’t suit the education system, yet managed to have a great career in something he really enjoyed. Just because he found the curriculum didn’t suit him, didn’t stop him from getting a science career.


Many people may think some autistic people like Albert Einstein failed the education system, but people like me believe that the education system failed him. However I’m not saying that autistic people cannot cope with the curriculum because quite often they can, what I am saying is that autistic people are often specialists, rather than generalists. A specialist is someone that knows lots about one subject, but has basic knowledge of other subjects. Whereas a generalist is someone who knows a bit about everything, which is what the education system forces people to be to ‘succeed’ in education system.


Being Different to others:

Being different to others is difficult for everyone, especially for someone with autism, as they will behave differently in certain situations, for example if a person without autism forgets their homework they may just have a bit of a swear and a curse and get over it. Whereas an autistic person may have a meltdown/panic attack, which may result in refusing to go to a lesson, which is often seen by society as a bad behaving child, whereas in reality, they are not a bad behaving child, but they are unable to cope, making them shut down from everything, apart from this one small problem.


Throughout life, I have seen so many people get abuse from their peers just because of who they are, whether they are disabled, autistic, anxious, etc. But I think that only happens because the people that pick on them are weak, they can’t imagine a world with more than one type of person, so they copy each other like mirrors, because they fear if they accept people for who they are, then they will not be accepted themselves as this would make them different from their friends.


I have always found it hard to be myself around school, as I feel so many people are judgmental. Often people tell me that I attention seek, I over react, etc. I know for a fact that this happens to many autistic people in schools across the world every single day, and it’s because people can’t understand why someone is different and may need extra support in areas where most don’t need it. But if people gave me a chance to get to know the real me, I’m just like any normal person. I’m very chilled out, I like a good laugh, love a good party, enjoy gaming, watching movies, and can’t live without listening to music.


But I believe it is the same with every autistic person. If you can give them a chance, and get to know them properly, they are just like any normal person, but often need a little more support than others.


So I challenge everyone that reads this, to open their minds, and accept everyone for who they, rather than on popularity. Don’t be the one that follows the crowds, be the one to follow the morals of your heart.

“You know my name, not my story. You don’t know what I have been through.” – Unknown

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