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Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 66
Gender: Male
Posts: 32,864
Location: Long Island, New York

20 May 2023, 8:37 pm

'Bullies threw rocks at me for being autistic - what I wish my younger self knew'

When Rosie King was in school, she was beaten by bullies, hounded with slurs in the playground and pounded with rocks in the street - all because she was different to her peers.

An emotional and sensitive child with a big imagination, Rosie grew up being laughed at by classmates and even locked in a cupboard by her primary teacher. Making friends was hard being the odd one out.

At the age of nine, she was diagnosed with autism and Tourette's syndrome, and suddenly all of her traits and tics made sense. But still, the world didn't know how to treat anyone that stood out.

At the time, autism had only just been included in the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey and a study found that one percent of the UK population was autistic.

There was nobody on television with autism, no children's books in the library about being on the spectrum and very few girls had been diagnosed with the developmental disability.

"We were the only family in the area with disabilities - like The Boo Radleys of the community," Rosie, from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, told the Mirror.

"I always felt like there was a sheet of glass between me and my peers. I felt isolated and couldn't pinpoint why until I was diagnosed."

Rosie's whole family is on the spectrum and her younger sister Daisy, now 23, was the first to be diagnosed at the age of one, followed by Lenny, now 21.

I don't think I would have been diagnosed it if wasn't for Lenny. At the time, it was extremely uncommon for girls to be diagnosed with autism," Rosie explained.

At the age of seven, Rosie was given a leaflet about autism for siblings of children that had been diagnosed, and recognised the traits that were listed: she was very active, emotional and sensitive.

Doctors confirmed that Rosie had Asperger's Syndrome when she was nine and explained that she could see, hear and feel the world differently to other people.

"I was lucky that I grew up in a very supportive family. My parents made sure to let us know that being different was okay and they would love us no matter what," Rosie said.

"But in school, any form of difference was the worst possible thing. They would beat me up and call me names. There was a few instances of sexual assault.

"I had rocks thrown at me in the street and water and paint chucked on me. I developed a lot of self-hatred and started to despise my tics as I got older."

When Rosie was applying for colleges and jobs, she was turned away "because they didn't want disabled students or colleagues", leaving her feeling like a "lower-class citizen".

But with a burning desire to help make the world a more tolerable place for autistic people, Rosie became an advocate for autism acceptance and awareness.

She was picked up by the BBC for numerous roles at a young age and spoke in a TED talk about finally embracing her differences to "fight the good fight".

"People are so afraid of variety that they try to fit everything into a tiny little box with a specific label," Rosie explained.

Then recently, she was offered the chance to work as a screenwriter, author and voice artist on Pablo, a TV show about a young autistic boy, created by Paper Owl Films.

It was a huge turning point for her self-acceptance, and gave her the opportunity to be a part of something that never existed when she was a child.

"I think there's a lot of changes coming to represent disabilities and neurodiversity in the media, which I'm really excited about."

"I wish my younger self knew that being a bit different isn't the end of the world and you're alright to be the weird person you are," she said.

"It's so hard to be different in a world where being different is punished so severely. Instead, we should celebrate our uniqueness and imagination."

Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


Joined: 5 Mar 2018
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,658

22 May 2023, 6:49 am

. "People are so afraid of variety that they try to fit everything into a tiny little box with a specific label," Rosie explained.

Interesting quote although you’ll find it’s the ND advocates who tend to do that.

Many talk about autism being one condition with one identity one set of symptoms and one solution.

Reality is there has never been one autism or one community just lots of different people with different things going on in their brain with different views on how they feel about that.

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends upon the unreasonable man."

- George Bernie Shaw