Scenes from the everyday life of a teenager with autism


Amaya Ward, Staff Reporter

You’re sitting in class and doing your work; the teacher says you’ll be getting into groups. You hear her but you’re not finished writing so you don’t get up –  then suddenly everyone is in their groups, and everyone is talking carelessly. And your first thought is “why bother?” Why bother getting into a group when you know that when you inevitably walk over to them they all give you this look, This look of, “oh…okay” because they don’t want to have the weird kid who whispers to themselves and waves their hands around whenever they’re nervous to be in their group. And they don’t think you’re smart enough to know, but they’re judging you, silently with every movement you make, and when they’re not judging you, they’re ignoring you. As if you’re not even there, like they’re adults talking around the dinner table, and you’re just some toddler who keeps pulling on their leg asking nonsense questions. 

Teachers place you by “troubled students” assuming that you’ll help them become better when in reality you are just being harassed and bombarded with insults and crass remarks about how you act, how you speak, and even how you move. The only reason you suffer is because an oblivious adult thought you could be a good influence on someone you’ve never talked to a day in your life. His friends come up to him and swarm you like bees while they gossip and tell disturbing jokes about the girl across the room. And every word from their mouths makes your stomach turn and you feel like you want to run away but you can’t. Because what if they ask you where you’re going? what if they make those “jokes” about you as soon as you leave? So you’re frozen in place until the bell rings and you run out of the room, feeling so used, so depended on, yet so worthless. 

You’re sitting in class – it’s worktime – everyone has moved around the room to sit with their friends. At first, the sounds get tuned out by your focus on drawing, but then, it gets; louder and you feel this weight in your stomach that keeps sinking as it gets louder and louder until you have broken. You can’t stand the noise your breathing speeds up, your hands flap up and down and you’re embarrassed by it because you can’t control your reaction, and then. 

The staring starts, eyes everywhere, now it’s too silent, now you’re the center of attention, and you just wish everyone would stop looking at you. Then they swarm you they ask if you’re okay over and over again people yelling “give the kid space!” while standing directly over you. You put your hands over your head and now you’re on the floor crying and shaking and you feel like your body is dying all around you. And suddenly to your surprise you scream “GET AWAY FROM ME” and everyone has stopped talking, the eyes turn to the teacher and she says “give her space, okay?” and everyone has stepped back and now you feel this rush of fear, calm down, “is this what it feels like before you faint?” you think to yourself. You’re rocking back and forth against the table corner, no more eyes, only glances and whispers, you feel better now, that weight in your stomach is moving up, higher with every rock of your body. The teacher comes up to you, and helps you breathe, she tells you to count down from 10, and you do, and with every number more tears fall; tears of relief, relief that its finally over, and that your body doesn’t feel so strange and scary anymore. 

And you go back to drawing, and it’s odd, the way your brain has changed, you feel like you’re a baby again, whispering to yourself about what color to make the flowers and what window should have a desk in it. You feel so happy, you don’t know the word yet but you know how it feels, like complete and utter euphoria, just from drawing, just from the quiet chatter of the classroom, just from the sound of typing and pencils on paper; you are now once again in your own world.