You're at school. You don't know what to say when other kids speak to you, and so they laugh. Sounds are painfully loud, light is too bright, and your chair is too hard. You're overwhelmed with anger and fear. Your teacher asks you to do your work. You don't know why, but you can't. You feel so stupid.
Autism is an entire state of being, and is not a minor condition even if a child is relatively 'functional'. It means struggling with social norms, sensory input and mood regulation. Anyone with autism can benefit immeasurably from understanding how their mind works. Yet NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in south-west London are considering proposals to cut autism diagnosis services for children.
The National Autistic Society have spoken out against the cuts: "This will leave many local children without access to a diagnosis and unable to access the specialist support they desperately need. We believe this goes against CCGs' legal duty.'' Every autistic child deserves the opportunity to flourish according to their own strengths, not be left to struggle with their differences.
Your teacher gently reminds you to put your earplugs in if things are too noisy. She gives you an encouraging thumbs up and you respond. You sit on your cushioned seat, and begin to write about your special interest. You feel happy, and proud of your project. It's been so much easier since you got your diagnosis.