As far as I can remember being an autistic 5 year old was very confusing and I couldn’t remember anything that was going through my mind other than anxiety, frightened from being parted from the people I trusted the most and that when people would teach or tell me something important my mind would black out and I wouldn’t understand. I would be screaming, anxious, out of control and I wouldn’t understand why I did what I did when I did something like that.
At the time I had no idea what I was thinking or what went through my very young autistic mind, because young autistic children don’t have thoughts and we can’t think. I remember the memories through my eyes, I never understood why I was doing anything out of my own control. My mind would go blank and I’d be in the autistic world – a dream world, an escape from the real world everyone would call normal.
When I was 8 my parents put me on a drug called Ritalin which would be mixed into my Ribena. It lasted about a month I think. The Ritalin helped me calm down, focus and concentrate more socially, physically, mentally and relax in many kinds of situations, good or bad. I was also beginning to realise that something was wrong with me and that’s why I am so different from neurotypical people (normal people without autism or any other special needs).
When I was 14 my parents decided to tell me that I have autism, which by then I began to understand a small, yet huge part of myself as well as understanding and reading good and bad people’s emotions and anticipations. In my special needs school, Freemantles from age 5-16 I had a lot of good teachers that helped me a lot through the years, socially, physically and mentally but I never got any educational qualifications so even today I’m not sure what I am going to do with my life and there’s so much I can be, I just want a chance from people who don’t understand that so many things I had to go through to get to where I am with myself today.
For someone like me who lived in the autistic world and managed to come into the real world it was no easy ride. My very determined parents would spend sleepless days and nights to study and understand autism to get through to me. It was a lot of hard work for them. Coming from me I’d say their hard work has paid off as well as all my school teachers.
Today I am 21 hoping to one day study Archaeology or become a Motorcross racer, I just hope its not too late to be what I want to be. At the moment I am currently working at the Harvester in Ottershaw and I have been working there for nearly 3 years. I do a bit of everything, helping the customers and waiters and waitresses.
I am now very independent, I passed my CBT test on a motorbike, I travel to lots of places by bus. I do marshal arts and I love to travel. Last year I went to New York with my parents and then with friends travelled to California and managed to fly home all by myself – I felt so proud.
Every autistic person has a noise that they don’t like, mine is the sound of bees and wasps. The noise makes me feel very anxious and frightened because I don’t know what they will do next, who they will sting or not as the case may be and they come out when you least expect them.
When it comes to autistic rage or anger however you might call it, once you get an autistic person angry they will stay angry for a day or maybe longer. If anything, it’s like a bomb, as soon as it goes off.….the damage is done! Anger clouds your mind and doesn’t make you focus. Autistic people take things more personally and therefore it takes them longer to get over things.
Sometimes being autistic you get too involved in a movie – you become that character because you like them so much and you want to become them rather than be yourself – no one else seems to understand and everyone else questions it but its too hard to explain. Its only when you grow up and realize that most movies, expect the real life story ones, are just make believe.
There are many ways that autistic people think differently and in turn, make jokes that they don’t realize they have made – for example :-
‘Are you ticklish’ – “no, I’m Jake”
‘Do you like Disco’s?’ – “yes, salt and vinegar”
‘My sister is having a pamper evening tonight Dad – they must be all wearing nappies’ (they were having a girls pamper evening).
My name is Jake Cartwright and I hope this is useful to anybody studying autism or wanting to know what its like. I hope it proves useful and helps!!