The ALLIANCE Humans of Scotland, shares and showcases short stories about the everyday lives of the people we engage with.
As a young child I felt totally isolated, some may have said I was unsociable. I was a scared young soul who’d spend most of his time in his bedroom playing with Lego, it was the only way to feel at peace with myself.
I felt different from other children around me. Even as I began to learn a bit about my diagnoses of Asperger’s Syndrome it didn’t help, life was more challenging. My young mind unable to understand the ASD was to play in my life.
ASD was impacting not only my learning, my mental health suffered in Primary. The way I was treated, bullied by other children, staff who didn’t understand me, or what I needed to help me, barriers everywhere. Ultimately, I was out of education for 6 months. No school wanted me, I felt destined to be cast out forever. Until John Simmons offered me a place in Castlehill Language Unit, this was my life saver. A place where I was understood, could learn and learn to laugh again.
My path into fitness and sport, first came through Saturday morning special needs swimming lessons with Glasgow Life. Short but fun lessons, I think my fascination with water and believing I was a shark or crocodile really helped.
At Castlehill Primary ski lessons came next. These had an unsteady start, often the simplest technique too tricky for me, resulting in tears and confusion week after week. One week Ed from Disability Snowsport UK came along. The specialist instructor got the ASD kid, he understood the challenges. Eventually taking me onto ski Cairngorm mountain. I also ski in Italy with Abercorn School Community.
With the help of Amanda, my teacher from Castlehill, Mr. Kerr Head of PE at Abercorn and my ever-encouraging mother I took up running at Red Star Athletics, sprinting being my event. I’ve been lucky enough to represent Team Scotland West at two National Special Olympics Games and work with my mother on my fitness. I’ve also been very lucky to have received funding from the new ILF Scotland Transition Fund to pursue my dream of learning Kung Fu. It’s given me a community to be part of in Glasgow, one where I am included, there is no isolation or barriers only encouragement to be confident and believe in myself to help build independence.
As a young ambassador for ILF Scotland Transition Fund I’ve been given opportunities to grow, I am listened to, able to reach out to other young people I which is very important to me. Being asked to present a masterclass along with my mother and ARC/Scottish Transitions Forum for the ALLIANCE, was a privilege, letting people hear what it feels like for young people and families in transition is vital. I hope other young people will be inspired to give new things a go. Did I ever think back in my Lego days I could break down so many barriers, no I certainly did not. I’ve had help along the way and if you’re reading this “Believe in yourself and you can do it”. I still love Lego, especially my advent calendar.