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Broadcast On: 4th May 2017

Inside Autism

Gabe and Alex want people to learn to relate to those with autism
Gabe and Alex made a film where Gabe imagines talking to his peers about living with autism
Steve Vasey from Autism Together supports the campaign

'At the worst I’ve felt really, really low, and I do sort of think, why me? We don’t want other people with autism to go through what we have.' 

 

After struggling through school with little support or understanding of their autism, Gabe Ledson, together with his friend Alex Kent, are calling for more people to learn to relate to those with the condition.

 

Their story was broadcast on ITV Granada News. 

 

17-year-old Gabe and 18-year-old Alex, both from Southport, tell ITV about their difficult experiences through school.

 

Alex describes how he was severely bullied.

 

'They just thought I was different and no one wanted to interact with me,' he says.

 

'It knocked my confidence completely and I found that I wouldn’t talk to anybody and I’d just avoid people as much as I could.' 

 

Gabe adds: 'They saw me as the naughty boy. It’s a hundred per cent people not understanding autism.

 

'If I’d had a bit more support and understanding I’d probably be sat here now with more GCSEs.' 

 

With Fixers, the pair have created a film where Gabe imagines what he might have told his peers in class about living with autism.

 

You can watch the film below. 

 

 

 

'When a routine gets disorganised I get flustered, angry and annoyed. Or if there’s too much noise I can’t think straight. It’s hard for me to talk about it, because you automatically assume that people think you’re weird,' he says. 

 

Alex explains their aim: 'We’re really trying to get across that autism isn’t a bad thing. We just have some underlying problems that with a bit of help we’ll be ok with.' 

 

Steve Vasey, the head of the children and families service at Autism Together, is supporting Gabe and Alex’s campaign.

 

'Around one in a hundred people are affected by autism. Autism is a neuro developmental disability that affects social communication and social interaction, so it makes the world a scary, confusing and difficult place to navigate,' he says. 

 

'In some schools it’s recognised well, but in many situations it’s not. I think there’s a long way to go before enough people understand autism.' 

 

Gabe and Alex are taking their film into local schools and colleges to get young people thinking about the issue.

 

At King George V College in Southport, one student feeds back about the benefit of seeing the video.

 

'It’s really nice to have a student perspective because now we can adapt the way we speak and actually help.' 

 

Alex concludes: 'Our biggest hope for our project is to make a difference – we’ve only just started out but I hope this film will make a big impact for a lot of people.' 

 

To find other resources on this topic, and watch Fixers films, click on the image below.

 

Author: Erica Witherington

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