Life on the Autism spectrum

Duncan - Interview 51

Male
Age at interview: 17
Age at diagnosis: 13

Brief outline: Duncan, 17, was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome when he was thirteen years old after originally being diagnosed with dyspraxia. He is currently in sixth form doing his A levels and hopes to go to university.

Background: Duncan, 17, lives with his family. Ethnic background/nationality: White British.

Audio & video

Duncan, 17 was diagnosed with dyspraxia when he was eight years old. He describes being very quiet at primary school and was paranoid about speaking up in class in case he asked a silly or inappropriate question. He felt different to other children because he wasn’t interested in the same activities like riding BMX bikes or skateboarding. He enjoyed playing computer games or War Hammer; more structured activities with clear objectives. Duncan’s parents thought that there were still some unanswered questions and five years later he was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. Once he had the second diagnosis, appropriate support was provided at school, including a note taker, speech and language therapy and someone to talk through issues surrounding social situations and schoolwork. Duncan settled much better in a private secondary school which had smaller classes.
 
Duncan describes feeling happy to get the diagnosis because it explained how he was different and enabled him and his family to put strategies in place to make life easier. While he didn’t give up trying to fit in, he describes not trying as hard and gradually it became easier to be more outgoing and interact with people. He found what he describes as social suicide situations easier to manage and has learnt to make conversations which have become spontaneous over time.
 
Duncan does not like change and has sensory issues like a sensitivity to noise and interest in shiny things. He finds that these issues can be distracting. He has got a great sense of humour and tries to focus on positive things. Duncan is currently in the sixth form and hopes to go to university.

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