LIVING WITH Asperger’s Syndrome is not something that has daunted 12-year-old Fionn Hamill.
Indeed, the St Michael’s student, from Enniskillen, has recently set up a blog online that has proven very popular, even receiving 20,000 hits when one of his pieces was featured on thejournal.ie website.
Asperger’s, as his mother Helen described, is a life-long condition.
“It is a combination of social interaction difficulties, processing tasks can be complicated, you tend to have areas of fascination, you have very heightened sensory issues (awareness of sounds, smells, fabrics), and have difficulty with motor skills. The presentation is different in every case,” she said.
Fionn himself said: “I love having Asperger’s and I am glad I was born this way. I do my blogs to help others understand Asperger’s and to understand themselves.
“Asperger’s isn’t a disease, to me it’s just a difference. It makes me have different social skills, and process in a different way. I am very disorganised, but I am just wired different, and I can still do everything a 12 year old does.”
Fionn has two brothers and a sister, and goes to St Michael’s College in Enniskillen.
“I have loads of hobbies – I like playing gaelic and soccer. I love PS3. I love listening to music, watching films and reading,” he added.
Not long ago, Fionn set up a blog where he writes whatever he feels like.
“I always liked creative writing because I love reading. When I was ten, we did a story about ourselves and I liked mine. I like writing about anything! – I like writing funny stories, any kind of fiction and bits about my Asperger’s.
“I find writing really relaxing,” he added.
And, his blog has proved popular, so popular he was asked to guest blog for a week by Adam Harris the founder of aspergersadvice.org.
A few other Irish charities spotted these and asked to share pieces from it. His family were then contacted by thejournal.ie and agreed to an article being published on their site. That was read by 20,000, and had some very moving comments posted underneath.
“It makes me feel happy to know that I have been doing good and helping others,” Fionn continued.
“I didn’t expect all this attention. When so many people published and read my blog, that was a big shocker, but I am glad it happened. Some of the comments were from teachers, from parents whose sons and daughters are autistic, other people with Asperger’s and some people just trying to understand themselves,” he reported.
However, he was keen to reiterate that he’s no expert, and is just telling things from his perspective.
“I would never pretend I am an expert on Autism because I’m not – there are so many different kinds – and everybody with Autism is different.”
He went on: “I am just an expert on me. But, I think to really understand Asperger’s you need to have it, or someone in your family have it.
“And I love being different, that’s what makes the world cool – we are all different in some way!”
You can read Fionn’s blog at www.autisticandproud.wordpress.com.