Hi, my name is Eve McLaren, and I am 16 years old. I was diagnosed with autism at the age of 13. To me autism is not a disability it is a difference of ability.
I find some things very difficult, like making friends, loud noises, being in crowds and being at events and standing in front of people.
But like most people with autism, I also have amazing talents. We can see things other people can’t. We are very creative. Some of us have amazing memories and we are very precise in details. We can be very kind and we can also be very honest. As well as being very determined with tasks that we love.
Let’s be very clear, every autistic person is different and have their own abilities and talents as well as their own challenges.
Yet only 23% of people with autism are in employment. 80% have been bullied at school and many have been excluded. I myself have been home schooled due to severe bullying and I have just finished home schooling after seven years and just started college. Even recently I have been bullied when trying to do something I love so much.
One in three people with autism have experienced severe mental health and 66% have considered suicide. Many people with autism have been treated badly whilst doing everyday tasks like going to the supermarket, the cinema or resturants.
42% of people with autism are not taken seriously by their GP’s or hospital doctors so often choose not to go and see them.
Sadly as a result of this we are likely to live 16 years less and 30 years if we also have a learning disability.
It had been long overdue, the human rights of autistic people across the world. In 2022 governments and society are starting to introduce the powerful idea of neurodiversity and call for measures to guarantee human rights for the autistic community. Better understanding will hopefully mean we are able to get jobs and feel more accepted as we being to realise that the world needs different people and that people with autism have so much to offer.
I am asking today that everyone look to a future where we accept everyone as an individual and that people with disabilities are accepted. To me my autism is my superpower and I hope one day everybody with autism wil also feel like this as well.
Thank you for reading this today.
MORE ABOUT EVE
In June this year Eve spoke to over 500 delegates at the RCPCH Conference in Liverpool where she accepted the Young Achiever Award 2022.
Read more about her story and the event on the Children's Health Scotland website.