From a young age, Talia had a feeling that she was different. She felt alienated, especially at school, and found it difficult to fit in. Growing up, Talia was continually told off by her teachers at school. This caused her great anxiety as she didn’t know what she was doing wrong. She would often leave the classroom, feeling overwhelmed and stressed, and her teachers struggled to understand her behaviour. She was often made to feel that she was being ‘naughty’ when in reality, she was suffering from Autism and needed support, empathy and understanding.
However, with limited knowledge or understanding of Autism, her teachers and classmates often told her she would never excel in a social school environment. As a result, she believed she was an outcast and would never ‘fit in’ with her peers.
Being diagnosed with ASC
After consulting a mental health professional, Talia received a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC). This diagnosis helped her make sense of her thoughts, feelings and behaviours. It also made her realise that she was different to the people around her but that there was a reason for this.
“Having a diagnosis of Autism helped me realise that I’m not an outcast”
Autism is not an illness, it is a spectrum condition that varies across each area and therefore affects each person differently. However, for a diagnosis to be considered, the overall impact on daily functioning and quality of life must be significant. There also has to be evidence of the condition in the child’s early development. However, in high functioning children the social communication differences may not be apparent until much later on in life.
Talia’s experience of growing up with Autism is not uncommon. She describes suffering from anxiety, depression and panic attacks, which are common mental health conditions associated with autism. In fact, 70% of children with ASC develop at least one co-occurring mental health issue.
The bright side of growing up with Autism
Talia is able to see the advantages of having autism, as well as its challenges. For example, she is incredibly perceptive and notices small details that others might miss.
Despite being made to feel that she wouldn’t do well in life due to her Autism, Talia has achieved success as an actor and explains that she is flourishing in her environment and career.
She wishes she’d had a better experience with teachers and peers at school but now understands that there is still a great deal of work needed to educate others about Autism.
Talia feels that all children are different, and some have special needs. If they are struggling to follow instructions or complete tasks, that doesn’t mean that they are naughty. These children need to be listened to and adjustments need to be made for them.
“It’s so important to feel like you’re being heard”
At Nip in the Bud we believe that early intervention is key to helping diagnose and treat child mental health conditions. We provide free resources for parents, teachers and carers, including films and fact sheets about the 7 most common mental health conditions in children.
If you’d like to learn more about Autism Spectrum Condition, visit our information page.
You can listen to Talia’s story about growing up with Autism here.