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Shady Days, Dreams and Awareness

This blog is by Charlie Henbury, an 18 year old who is a self advocate for the autism community. Charlie can be found via his facebook page here

I was first diagnosed with autism one week after my 4th birthday in 1998 in London at this point my mother was thrown off balance in certain situations she was in anticipation waiting for some unanswered questions. Then the doctors told my mother (Sherry) your child has Autism. It wasn't the end of the world but the road was long & windy. Turn a negative into a positive. I couldn't speak at all. Not even if I tried. Many months of speech therapy wasn't pleasant in my opinion but I sure was having fun playing with Lego bricks and knocking down wooden blocks. A few years later I’m going to mention this because I feel it’s right in my heart to express my realism emotions my father left me and my sister (Lily) unfortunately left me leaving me in relatively low spirits.  

Moving past this let me talk about my some of my autism characteristics. I didn’t like being hugged and/or kissed by any of my family members. I found it awkwardly uncomfortable the feeling you know? A shy sensitive little boy walking around the playground by myself, no friends just me. Talking of obsessions I absolutely loved “Thomas The Tank Engine” when I was a younger child! I collected all the VHS videotapes I could find. I found it fascinating re-winding my favorite particular scenes of each episode. Many individuals on the Autistic Spectrum love to be stimulated.

Going into a darker phrase in my life I have dealt with a lot of aggression. Frustration was happening quite a lot during puberty when I was around 13. I kicked and smashed doors. I was a confused boy trying to mature. I wish I understand society a little better and I wish I had somebody to look out for me. I had no father figure. It also wasn’t nice when some individuals would call me the “r-word”. That word is a disgusting inappropriate word so diabolical. I felt unappreciated but the only person who was able to help was my mother god bless her sweet soul.  My sensitivity issues were also an issue. Different tastes, bright lights, noises, etc gave me difficulty.

Through all of this my love of my mother helped me. She's my superhero who is there for me when times are good or bad.

I attended a special education school called “Helen Allison School” in Kent, England. That’s where I met my good friends Sam, Brad, and Michael. I made good memories. It was a great special needs school for children on the autistic spectrum. During my time there once a week I had communication sessions with a psychologist. They would share basic exercise, motivation games, literacy learning, math help and so forth. At this point in time my eye contact was awful also. I hated meeting new individuals getting used to routine is important knowing what time I have to be there at schools.

I had this wonderful majestic beautiful drama teacher named “Diane” who was a professional in dramatic arts. The backgrounds introduced me to a whole new world of learning. My inspirations were from Charlie Chaplin and Gene Wilder. I definitely knew though that I was NOT the next Leonardo DiCaprio. During this time I had singing lessons and acting classes. I played most of the main roles in school productions like “Bugsy Malone”, “Oliver Twist” (Bill Sikes), “Jerry Springer” (Austin Powers Spoof).

Today I'll be studying Television & Film in September.

My final message to parents, mothers, fathers, single, married, etc is this...

Were all begging and fighting for acceptance for our children's sake. Don’t pay attention to ignorance, believe in positivity. Imagine a world of equality and non-violence. It would be REMARKABLE. Autism isn't a disability it’s a hidden gem ability.  

Let’s destroy ignorance together!

The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.