(Please answer, no ignoring) I don't know what to do!

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Emu Egg
Emu Egg

Joined: 17 May 2017
Gender: Male
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Location: London

31 May 2017, 7:24 am

Sorry it is a bit long. I have Asperger's syndrome. My mother is a doctor in England. My dad is a civil engineer.

The past couple of years have been difficult for me. I have been struggling socially, emotionally and academically. I got my Education and Healthcare Plan (IEP) when I was 15. After that, I started to really struggle academically. Bullies used to do better than me. Some of these bullies would stop when they would come to know that my Mum's a doctor. This really made me upset.

I have been struggling heavily. I have seen students in my year with Asperger's syndrome who do not have an EHCP (IEP). They are some of the best students in my year group. They are the 'classic Aspies', students who do really well at school, have special interests but struggle academically. Students in my year group who have a disability have been struggling heavily.

The school was not much help. My Mum agrees with me. When I wanted to go to university, the members of staff were surprised. I struggled academically and this was held against me. I tried so hard yet I struggled. They were not able to support me properly.

The academic issues began in year 7. I had concentration issues, and my grades began to slip. This was a huge blow to my confidence as in primary school I was a top student. Many students who were in primary school with me and were in my class in Year 7 began to pick on me. I attempted suicide. I was receiving support from an English teacher. She took time out to help me. She helped turn my grades around, and pass Year 7. She convinced me not to commit suicide.
In Year 10, I was facing concentration issues, bullying and problems at home. My mum used to be really strict, and I began to fear her. I had so many meltdowns that she stopped being strict. I had a breakdown. I was taken out of school, could not sit my exams and was put on medication. I had begun seeing a psychiatrist, who later turned out to be one of the reasons behind my second breakdown in Year 12.

In Year 11, I received my EHCP. I began to struggle heavily. The support was very restrictive. Mainstream teachers were actually more helpful. Once, I failed a geography exam. In the UK, the courses you do at high school often involve both academic and practical examinations. I struggled heavily in the practical examinations as practical things are difficult for me. The geography teacher took time out for me to help me personally. I increased my practical grade to an A! She said, “ I think the exam that you failed was just a little mistake. If people were to help you the way I did, you would be on track for an A”. That was the support that really helped me surge on. I ended up passing Year 11 with average grades, but enough to take me to A levels. When I was struggling, I spoke to the clinical psychologist who was providing CBT. She acted like I was being silly. She said the EHCP was applicable only in the local authority I lived in. This was completely wrong. The EHCP is applicable wherever you go in the UK.


Many of my teachers would call me clever. They would compare me to other students who were not doing A-levels and say ‘ They are not as clever as you, Umar”. Towards, the end of year 12, teachers were trying to convince me to do a vocational course. I struggled heavily due to emotional issues in Year 12. I did really badly.
At the beginning of Year 13, I still wanted to go to university. I was met with a lot of resistance. I then decided to take a vocational route. However, I dealt with a lot of harsh judgements from teachers, students and other adults in my community about not being a doctor when my Mum was a doctor. Due to my own pride and what these people were saying, I now want to become a doctor. However, I have other backup options such as Engineering, Computer Science, Accountancy and Quantity surveying. My dad once brashly told me, “You want to achieve everything but you cannot achieve everything”. In the UK, you get a meeting once a year if you have an EHCP. It is your meeting and you can discuss whatever you need. I told them that I wanted to take the vocational route. They were able to help me a lot more than when I wanted to go to university. They were more comfortable in helping me. I talk to my Mum more than I talk to my Dad. My Dad said to the teachers at the meeting, “Umar said that he wanted to be a doctor.” There was a huge awkward silence in the room, until one teacher burst out laughing.

I was once told by my support worker, who has over 30 years of experience working with disabled people, the EHCP would not help me if I went to university. I would have to get support from the university itself. This is the biggest evidence that the EHCP is restrictive. I don’t think that I will be able to become a doctor because of this EHCP. Yet, it is what I want to do now. People have told me, “If you can’t do what you want, its not the end of the world”. People, including educated professionals, have been rude to me and judged me harshly for not wanting to be a doctor at the beginning. Of course, I will be deeply upset if I cannot be a doctor! Professionals have laughed at me when I express my anger. I am angry at the injustice of it all. I am angry with myself. I wish I did not have an EHCP or Asperger’s syndrome. I feel like I will face a lot of obstacles caused by other people, the EHCP and myself if I pursue Medicine. What shall I do?


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Joined: 14 Sep 2009
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Location: Hertfordshire, UK

31 May 2017, 8:48 am

iamadoctorsson wrote:
Due to my own pride and what these people were saying, I now want to become a doctor.

That's your problem, right there. You don't genuinely want to be a doctor and your stubbornness is stopping you from working out what you really want to do. You don't have to be a doctor or a civil engineer or even make any big decisions straight away. University is a very expensive, one-shot deal and, if you get it wrong, there are major, life-long consequences. It doesn't matter if you don't go to university until you're 30 or older as long as you know what you want to do and have an affinity for the subject.

The most important thing to remember as a young adult is that you are making key life choices at a time when you are least fit to make them. If I were you, I'd start looking around for some voluntary work to broaden your horizons, do a few vocational courses, maybe learn a couple of entry level programming languages like Python or HTML5; take the time to look around and see what's out there before saddling yourself with a student debt.


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Joined: 4 Feb 2014
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31 May 2017, 8:51 am

What do YOU want to do with your life?


Joined: 2 Mar 2015
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01 Jun 2017, 7:57 am

EnglishInvader wrote:
That's your problem, right there. You don't genuinely want to be a doctor and your stubbornness is stopping you from working out what you really want to do.

Hmm...listen to this guy. My first reaction was woah that's pretty frank. But then I reread your post, docson, and I think Invader is onto something.

So I would first give serious thought to his reply, then I would also make a second post and ask for the experiences of autistic doctors here on WP. There are some. They can tell you what it's really like to be a doctor on the spectrum. It might be different than your dad's experience.

The only other thing I wanted to say is to please, seriously, do NOT put so much importance on grades. Focus on learning, and on developing your interests. I am very neurotypical (picture like a used car salesman) and I can ALWAYS get an A. I don't have to be good at the class. I have a talent for figuring out what a person is looking for and then I can use that in a class to make sure I get an A. It doesn't make me feel good or proud of the A at the end. It actually makes me ashamed of myself. I stopped doing that on purpose in the last few years I was in school. I learned things instead and I started being honest in class. I got some Bs for classes, made some enemies, but I felt so much better. Lots of people made worse grades than I did but knew more. They got graded down for being quiet, having an unpopular view, being terrible at spelling. Stupid things. You can't take grades too seriously. Just learn.


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Joined: 9 Nov 2014
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07 Jul 2017, 6:20 pm

I think maybe you have a lot of emotional issues to work out before you can focus on academics. That's probably all I have to add to the others' comments. I agree with them... what do YOU want to do? What do you daydream about doing? You can be a famous something else, not a doctor; doctors as individuals (rather than as a group) are really not all top-of-the-line people.


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Joined: 21 Mar 2013
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08 Jul 2017, 6:11 am

I started medical school because someone told me I can't. That was the worst mistake of my life! I wasn't interested in the career or the subjects. If you're smart and have a good memory, the theoretical part isn't difficult. However, if you're not interested in the subjects and you struggle with the social part, it will be hell. I just quit medical school after 4.5 years. You really need to take some time and find out what you like doing, see if you have a special interest that could take you on a career path. When the future is uncertain, emotional issues become worse (I'm going through that right now). Don't start studying things you're not interested in. It took me over a decade to figure that one out. I think people with ASD have a tougher time with forced learning. Regular students have an easier time getting through a course / study (my opinion).

Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

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Joined: 11 Nov 2017
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14 Nov 2017, 1:56 pm

As somebody who went to a special needs school and wants to study for a degree, this resonates with me personally. If I recall correctly, my EHCP was scrapped entirely after a meeting with the careers advisor at the end of my time at school.

If you truly wish to go to university, or study for a university degree, there are still options. Look into the Open University, and into Access to HE Diplomas. Some colleges (though sadly, not all) have an open doors policy for Access to HE courses.

"How long, can this life go on, when we are what we are?"