Having Autism in school can make it really hard to build relationships and to get along with other classmates. In school at a young age, we were taught how to get along and share and to work together. But what if you had Autism?

I was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome at the age of nine. I was the new kid to my fourth grade and it was terrifying. Previously, I was homeschool from when I was able to form words until I turned eight. Then my family moved from our lovely home of the West Virginia mountains to the hot swamps of Georgia.

The first day of public school was a rush of colors and sounds of kids going by down the hallways and the random screaming of a first grader who didn't want to go to lunch. I didn’t know how to talk to other kids or start conversations. The only friends I had before public school was my brother and my parents.

I was really shy and timid when other kids came up to say hi I would clam up and be silent. This would cause kids to tease and bully me later down the road. I felt all alone and isolated from the rest of the kids, even the teachers were worried about me. I was a flamingo in a pond full of ducks, I stuck out and I didn’t know why.

When middle school came around, adolescence and hormones were bouncing. Girls started getting breast, boys started to smell like sweaty socks and I was the oily, chubby girl in orange that no one wanted to talk too. My socialization got a little better I had made a friend and it helps me learn how to function in the schools social class.

But middle school was a war zone, at lunch kids would arm themselves with milk cartons and oranges and strike me while my shields were down. And my friend would get into fist fights while I cried from the pain. Why did people pick on me you ask? Well, I am a doormat, a timid little bunny who was too pure and naive to see the evil and hate surrounding her.

This bullying and abused lead me to go into a shell and make my own world. what was great about my Autism was the fact that we can focus and love on one thing super strong. And mine was drawing and writing comics and doodles in a composition book. I later learned this was a coping skill for me and it helped my mind to look at a peaceful world that I can create on my own. And I loved it. Slowly, I grew closer to getting out of my shell and to talking again to people. Well, at least to talk to a human and walk away without causing a scene. High school was another story.

People have said that high school was the worst experience for them or the best. Mine was a little of both, with my social skills getting better every year I felt confident to talk and not be afraid. And in my Freshmen year of high school, I learned what was causing all my social problems and why kids bullied me. As my school adviser told me, “You have Aspergers Syndrome its a mild form of Autism”.

My world was opened and I saw the true meaning of why people thought I was weird and anti-social. I had something wired differently in my head. As school went on I researched my condition and joined an after-school group for kids like me. And it helped me open up and helped me accept myself for who I was. High school was awesome for me I had friends and I could be open to people. And my friend, the one who got into fist fights over me, still had my back even in high school.

Now, I am 21 years old in my Junior year of college with a boyfriend. Yes, I went to college, something I didn’t know at the time that I could do. I can social and talk to anyone without clamming up and I can be totally independent.

So here's some advice for any individual out there with a similar situation. Keep going, keep trying to communicate with people its hard I know and it's scary. There's a happy ending to your journey and you don’t want to end it early. You can get out of this one day, just do what Dory did in Finding Nemo. “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.”

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