Go, Greta. Autism is my superpower too | Jack Monroe
Like 16-year-old climate campaigner Greta Thunberg, I think differently. If only certain blinkered men could respect that…
When I started school at four, I was already reading my parents’ books. At six, my mum, upon telling the teacher that I was currently reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and could I carry on with that instead of Billy Blue Hat, was sneered at by a parent-governor and told, “don’t worry, we’ll bring her down a peg or two”. At 11, following comprehensive psychiatric and cognitive assessments, an educational psychiatrist appointed by my high school recommended that I attend a school for “gifted and talented” children. There was no further information given, and I thought no more about it, until I was sitting in my doctor’s surgery three years ago following a breakdown.
“I can’t cope with noise, light, crowds, people, new situations, surprises, T-junctions” – the words just fell out of my mouth – “and I feel like my head is full of angry wasps and sometimes I get so overwhelmed by the world I just want to die. I don’t want to die, I’m not suicidal, but I just want the wasps to be quiet.” I cried, as I had never said this out loud before and I thought I sounded insane. The doctor looked back through my notes and asked me if anyone had ever told me I was autistic. I sat and stared at her as she passed me a handful of resources to research.