Over the next five weeks we will be sharing a series of blog posts with you, written by an autistic academic who was diagnosed later in life.
She was assessed for autism as a child, but says she missed out on the diagnosis as little was known back then about the female presentation of autism. Thankfully, she had the chance to be reassessed as an adult.
She prefers to remain anonymous in her writing due to the stigma and discrimination that still exist within her industry, but she is happy for people to get in touch with her with any questions or feedback.
If you would like to get in touch please email us.
This is Part One:
A Bad Girl
I am five years old, and I am a bad girl.
They wondered if I was deaf first of all, when I was two and I didn’t respond to my name. It appears that I can hear but I choose not to listen. I make up my own words, words delicious to the tongue, and I bellow and sing them joyously, along with phrases from TV.
The little girls doing pliés by the bar in my ballet class are shocked by how naughty I am. I refuse to flap pretend wings whilst running around the room, but rather curl on the floor with my cheek pressed against the cool lino.
I am a terror in shops. My mum begs me to stay where she can see me, but if it’s a clothes shop, I will be sat in the middle of a clothes rack in the comforting dark, impervious to the calls of frightened adults. If it’s a department store I will be with the glass ornaments, because they are shiny, sparkly, cool, smooth. I love them. I have to hold them. My clumsy fingers fumble and adults shout.
I don’t want to play with other children, so when my sister and I are forced to visit my mother’s friends, I am always the child sat way out on the edge in the photograph and looking out of the frame. With my younger cousins, I forget that they are babies. I want to run and shout and laugh, to say my delicious made-up words way into the evening. The babies wake and the adults shout. I lock myself in the pantry because I am frightened; I am a bad girl.