June 2015, Fort St John, British Columbia, Canada
Connor Yates delivered this speech to a school speech competition, which he won.
Today, I intend to talk about something about myself that I think is really important to share with everyone.
I have autism, and I want to tell you what it is, and what it is like living with it.
Autism is a social disorder that makes it hard to communicate and to make friends. I have trouble understanding what people think, and how they feel. This is a social skill I have trouble with.
An example of this is that I can say things and not realise that it hurts someone’s feelings.
You may ask me to stop, but I don’t understand that you may be getting frustrated.
Something else that I struggle with is getting frustrated when I can’t do something right away. For example, whenI try learning something new, if I don’t get it right away, I get upset and want to quit.
It feels like I will never get it, learn it, or be good enough at it.
Sometimes I will be stuck on an idea or event that happened, and this makes it harder to work.
Another thing that I struggle with, is that sometimes I worry about asking for help and about what people will think about me.
Some common characteristics of autism are, little or no eye contact, preferring to be alone, trouble taking turns and blurting out.
If you’ve ever spoken to me, and it seems like I’m looking at everything but you?
This is because looking at you makes me uncomfortable.
I want to have friends, but making friends is hard for me.
I want somebody to play with, just like you do. I know it’s hard to be my friend becasue sometimes I don’t know what to say, and I end up saying something that hurts your feelings.
I find it really hard to be around a large group of people.
A large group of people can be my classmates, my friends, a party, my family, grocery shopping or going to a movie.
When I walk into a large group I can hear a lot of voices, they are really loud and overwhelming to me. Everyone is often running around, playing, talking and doing different things.
All of this is overwhelming to me, because I struggle to understand my surroundings.
When I go out I don’t want to be touched or held.
I often talk loud, or yell, so I don’t hear the other voices around me. I can become very argumentative, as I struggle to understand the other person’s emotions.
When I am overwhelmed, I don’t know that I am, even when people tell me, I struggle to believe them.
Because of all of this, I find it easier to just be alone and walk around.
I hope you understand more about me, because I want you to know more about my disorder.