Francesca Baird: School Days and Autism
Autism in females is not well understood: possibly because autistic traits manifest themselves differently in girls than they do in males and girls are better as masking their autistic traits. Therefore, it is of no surprise that many females go through their entire lives without a diagnosis. Through the story of my life (and my experience of living with autism), I hope to raise awareness of autism in females and remove some of the mental health stigmas and misconceptions attached to the label.The following is a short extract from my book entitled. Label Me: My Journey Towards an Autism Diagnosis
Label Me, from chapter four. School Days – The Bullying Escalates
The bullying at school got worse. One lunch time, my tormentor caught me unexpectedly, grabbed me, and shoved me into a cage. Yes, a cage! Actually, I think it was probably used as a bike shed or something of that nature but to me it was a cage: the door was made of steel bars with a big lock on the front. He shoved me in and quickly shut the door before I had the chance to retaliate. As if that wasn’t enough, he began to spit through the bars, deliberately trying to cover me in his saliva. Fortunately, the cage was deep and I managed to move far enough back to avoid the saliva infestation. I was in shock and complete disbelief.
What could I possibly have done to this boy to deserve such treatment? Is this a punishment of some sort? I wanted to cry but how could I? People would think I was pathetic and weak and I did not want to embarrass myself any more than I had to. Laughing and trying to brush it off wasn’t an option either, since it was not really a laughing matter. A crowd started to gather to see what the commotion was all about. My friends tried desperately to reason with him but he was not willing to let his target go. Eventually, some prefects from the year above intervened and freed me from prison.
‘How was your day at school love?’ ‘Fine’, I said, as I threw my bags on the floor and went straight up to my bedroom to release my emotions in solitude. I didn’t want my parents to know – partly because I did not want them to worry but mostly because I wanted to shut myself off from the rest of the world and pretend it never happened.
(The photograph is the actual cage.)
Francesca Baird, 21 February, 2021
This section: Label Me: Francesca Baird blogging about autism
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- Francesca Baird: blogging about autism – School Days