A group of young people with autism say difference is good and should be celebrated.
Fixer Mason Latey, 17, led the group from Derby College in their campaign to put together a booklet sharing their own experiences of autism.
‘We want people to talk about autism, rather than ignore it,’ explained Mason, from Derby. ‘We made a booklet to make it easier for people to understand the condition and what it feels like to have it.’
With around 700,000 people in the UK living with autism, the group believe people do not fully understand the disability which leaves them feeling judged and misunderstood.
The ‘Autism Explained’ booklet gives an insight into the lives of these Fixers living with autism and aims to stop others underestimating their abilities.
It details the struggles the young people have faced at school, and also the positive memories they have from the classroom.
One member of the group, Jacob, writes in the booklet: ‘I struggle to talk to other people, thus I didn’t have many friends at school. This was a problem for me because I felt like an outcast…I felt like a freak, a disease that no one wanted to be near.’
The group hope to circulate the booklet to schools, workplaces and support groups across the UK.
‘If someone with autism gets a new job it’s important their colleagues and managers are educated about autism or any other learning disorders their employees might have,’ Mason explained.
‘It is a great resource for teachers to help them cooperate and interact with autistic students in the best way possible.
‘It’s always best to try and interact and look for the best in others and I hope others see the best in us too.’ Mason added.