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“When you hear the word ‘Autism’, negative connotations may arise. Some may automatically assume that those that live with the disorder may be incapable of doing certain things or are less intelligent than those that may be considered ‘normal people’. I was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome (AS) at the age of 6 whilst still attending Infant School. It was obvious to my parents and others that I was different to children in my class because of differences in my behaviour, such as acting awkwardly or not necessarily interacting with any of the others. The condition that I live with still affects me when it comes to working with people. I still have some forms of social anxiety and may be reluctant to speak to people around me. With Asperger’s now being categorised under the AD umbrella, some people, such as myself, are high functioning. There are also many famous people that have a form of Autism. Familiar names such as the founders of Microsoft and Apple, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, are and were on the spectrum (though this did not prevent them from achieving their dreams). Even in the film industry, there’s Director Tim Burton, famous for his gothic and surreal films, plus the actor Dan Ackroyd, and it didn’t prevent him from becoming a Ghostbuster!

My Asperger’s, other than making me a bit of a recluse, can impact me in many ways. Firstly, I can be obsessive about things. Outside of UCS, I am a pop-culture fanatic. I am a huge fan of many franchises such as Star Wars, Marvel and DC. I am also a massive collector of pop-vinyl figures from many different TV shows and films (owning well over 600!). At University, it may be noticed that I wear a lot of quirky t-shirts. This is my way of embracing my personality and trying to inertly tell people that I don’t want to pretend to be like everybody else. My other personal hobbies include writing for my own hero-related comic book. I am also very passionate about talking about my ideas, as ludicrous as they may sound (though this often distracts me from my assignments!).

In terms of how my Autism affects me within University, I feel it does not restrict me as much as I thought it would. I am provided support at UCS using my laptop as it has programmes installed such as ‘Sonecent’ which allows me to record my sessions and listen to them later. This makes me feel more comfortable within seminars and lectures as I feel less pressured when I am making my notes, even though I don’t have to completely rely on it. I am very comfortable within my English course as a result of the other people I’ve met. One of the students in my group can remember every Harry Potter chapter title off by heart - it feels nice to know there are people here nerdier than I am! I have attempted to make myself more active by attending a creative writing group with others who are interested in writing, and it is helpful that they are able to appreciate pieces that I have written myself and provide me with feedback and nice comments. This has improved my self-confidence and is actually one of the reasons I have chosen to write this blog. One-to-one meetings with the lecturers, such as Lucy Andrew, also help my understanding of improving my own work and it makes me feel better knowing there are people I can talk to about my issues. Familiarising myself with my fellow English students on social media as part of a group chat has also helped make me feel more included.

During my time at UCS being a first year AS student, I hope to be able to engage in more activities like I am doing with the blogs. Outside of University, I would like to attend more literary events in Shrewsbury with the other English students. My focus at the moment is to improve my own writing experience and try to be a more active person.”

If you have any questions about student life at University Centre Shrewsbury, you can chat to our students here.

 

 

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