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Autism

Hi Sam,

I have aspergers (a form of autism) and I'm worried that if  I tell some of my friends they might treat me differently because when I was in year 4 or 5 I told a girl who I thought was my friend but then she started to act strange around me a be mean (be where friends now) I don't want it to happen again. It's arkward because I told my friend I would tell her and she keeps on bugging me about it what shoul I say to her because I don't want to tell her anymore.

From, p 😄

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Sam

Hi P,

Asperger’s is one part of what makes you who you are, but it’s not the only thing about you. We are all complex people with different issues and different personalities. While there’s no shame in having Asperger’s syndrome it doesn’t have to define you. Your friends are your friends because they already like you – that includes liking you with Asperger’s.

That bad experience from your past has made it hard for you to talk about Asperger’s, but it’s not something you need to be ashamed of. People who are autistic in some way might find some things more difficult than others but they also tend to be better at other things. However your Asperger’s affects you, it’s not something you need to hide away – you can be yourself.

Sometimes telling friends about Asperger’s, or telling them where they might read about it online, might help them understand you better and strengthen your friendships. Talking to people and sharing feelings is often something that people with Asperger’s struggle with. Try thinking about what would be the easiest way for you to tell your friend, and know that whatever works for you is okay.

Although it’s not something you have to be ashamed or secretive about, it is okay if you don’t want to talk about your Asperger’s. This is personal information, and you have the right to keep whatever you want private. If you’ve hinted you’ll tell your friend more, it can be awkward to then decide you don’t want to. One idea is to say you’re sorry for frustrating her but right now you’ve changed your mind and want to keep certain things private.

Just remember that you have friends who like you for who you are and that there are many more things that make you an individual than autism. It can be tempting to let labels and disabilities define us, but whether we have a learning disability, a mental health problem, autism or something else, we don’t have to let that become everything about us.

I’m so glad you thought of asking me about this. If you want more help thinking about this, ChildLine counsellors are happy to talk with you about this any time.

Take care,
Sam

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