My Diagnosis Story
By Izzy| Published on May 10, 2021 | 10 Minute Read
Hi, I’m Izzy and I’m 17 currently studying A levels (maths, further maths, chemistry & Latin) in the UK.
It was first mentioned to me that I might be autistic whilst I was in year 11 (September 2018) however because of the stigma and ableism from my peer group, I was so ashamed that I was hospitalised for being suicidal. After moving schools and undergoing yet another mental health crisis I eventually went for an assessment and was diagnosed November 2020. My diagnosis changed my life and I have now fully embraced myself and learnt that I have a superpower and a gift.
Before it was first mentioned to me, I never knew I was autistic and if I’m being completely honest I never really knew what autism was. It is rarely talked about and society’s lack of awareness I find shocking and not acceptable. I have never fitted in and always been bullied for being different but I never had a reason why. This is why I am trying to advocate now - I don’t want people to go years knowing they are different but not knowing why. It was only when my mum showed me a book by the curly haired project and I saw that every single page was me that I first realised I could be autistic
What I wish people knew
There are so many but I would have to say 2 key things:
1. Autism is a spectrum - so many people think you can be ‘more’ or ‘less’ autistic but this is not true. Functioning labels do not exist & no two autistic people are the same. People need to be more aware & not just believe the stereotypes.
2. Masking. This has caused so many issues for me because others don’t understand that when in public I often hide my autistic traits so they won’t accept my diagnosis.
After receiving my diagnosis, I have been provided with so much external support and everyone is a lot more accommodating whether that’s school, family or friends. But the main thing is I have for the first time in my life accepted who I am and am happy with who I am. It is so comforting to know that I’m not a ‘weird freak’ as I’ve been told before, I’m not alone, there is a reason and that is why I love the autistic community.
When I joined sixth form I didn’t have an official diagnosis yet but I had been told by numerous medical professionals that I’m autistic so we informed the school before I joined & they told me I’m not autistic and didn’t believe me. Only when I got my official diagnosis did they actually listen. This frustrates me on so many levels and is something I am trying to change, waiting lists can be so long and schools shouldn’t refuse to help you because it’s not ‘official’
Autism is not an insult and these rude comments need to stop. I have 1 really strong memory that has stuck with me from year 11 (2018) - when Greta Thunburg was in the news all the boys were making of fun of her for being autistic & being rude about her. At the time I had just been told by a teacher that I could be autistic and these insults & cruel jokes led me to want to take my own life. This is not acceptable, I hope everyone can be more kind and respectful.
I have been discriminated against a LOT, especially whilst being at sixth form.
1. I boarded during year 12 (which did not go well so year 13 I lived at home) and every half term we had room changes. As an autistic person I found this extremely distressing and when I spoke to my housemistress she just said “it’s only fair and everyone needs to share a room”. She told me if I wasn’t happy sharing a room then I should return to my old school. She then put me in a shared room resulting in a very long autistic burnout for me as well as another suicide crisis. Everyone is not the same and people need to listen to us.
2. At the end of year 12 when the new people joined my housemistress allocated everyone a ‘buddy’. I was the only person in my house not allocated someone and when I asked why my housemistress said ‘you are too different and don’t have anything in common with anyone’.
3. The school refused to let me not wear a mask even though with anxiety and sensory difficulties I find it distressing
The list goes on and it’s not right.