FOUR years ago, Garbhan Dolan penned an article about his life with Asperger’s Syndrome for a writing competition. Asperger’s syndrome is an Autistic Spectrum Disorder which means Garbhan’s ‘brain works differently.’
The article which appears on the Autism Awareness charity website, provides a wonderful insight into how autism is truly invisible, and how people need to look beyond external appearances.
Garbhan, who is from Enniskillen, goes to St Michael’s College, but was at St Patrick’s PS Mullanaskea when he wrote the article and was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome when he was in P4.
Garbhan who was 11 at the time, perfectly penned how Asperger’s Syndrome can impact the person suffering from it, and how those around them will be unaware of the disorder. His article urges people to ‘look at someone, instead of just seeing the outside, it’s important to imagine what it’s like for them.’
In the article, Garbhan explains “From the outside looking in he’s like any other 11 year old. You imagine he has lots of friends, has the confidence and cheek most 11 year olds possess and can understand everything that is said to him. From the inside looking out, it couldn’t be more wrong because this 11 year old was bullied for three years and only has one friend.”
Now 15, Garbhan has a classroom assistant at school and believes that Autism awareness has grown, but ‘that does not mean it is understood.’
“A lot of people expect me to be able to do things because of my age but the way I view the world is different and I need help and advice with things other people would never need help with. I would advise others with autism to not hide it, it’s nothing to be ashamed of and people can help you better if they know about it,” he added.
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