Autism is regarded as an alternative way of learning and thinking to what is considered normal. It is a lifelong, development disability that affects a person’s communication and how that person experiences the world around them.
Autism Spectrum disorder interrupts with the brain’s signals. ASD influences how neurons connect and communicate with each other in the brain. The disorder forms too many connections between brain neurons and has trouble learning.
To break those symptoms down: people with ASD tend to have too many thought patterns and have difficulty narrowing one concept or idea down; extreme anxiety during a highly populated room, making the person feel trapped; can be highly sensitive to noises.
Easier way people with ASD learn tends to be through watching and practicing; drawing; copying others. It is often that their brains are rather visual and literate. If someone were to say; “it is raining cats and dogs.” It is possible that they are literally picturing it raining cats and dogs rather than heavy rain.
Connor Griffiths-Jones received a toy lamb from his parents when he was a kid, even before he could remember. Lamby calms him down during his worst and most peeked anxiety moments.
Griffiths-Jones was diagnosed behind his parents back, in Primary school. Their thought process was “he excels in some things but struggles in others.” They did eventually tell his parents in year three.
Griffiths-Jones had to go to private meetings with two special needs teachers who had picture cards, reading material, writing tasks and speech therapy for him.
Griffiths-Jones asked his parents because he didn’t know why he was taking these sessions; they asked the school and not long after he took a test for learning disabilities. He was later diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum, with minor points of Asperger’s and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder). He had to see a paediatrician every week for two years, for a screening interview due to his Asperger syndrome. The sessions were to test any potential problematic factors affecting his development.
In receiving a formal diagnose of ADHD wen Griffiths-Jones applied for University, he had to get a Doctors note for disability.
“It distressed me” Griffiths-Jones explains, “I don’t want to be labelled.”
A teacher would come and check on me halfway through lunch and drop me off and pick me up again for lessons.”
While Griffiths-Jones is a highly functioning autistic patient, his sister suffers with severe autism and Asperger’s. She was sent to learning disability school but because she was highly autistic, she was extremely sensitive to noises. The teachers were inefficient and could not handle her. She was sent to be home schooled. This hugely affected her physical social life; however, she is happily active on social media.
The cerebellum is important in higher cognitive functions for language and attention. People with autism have language delays and unusually pay intense attention to objects and topics that interest them. With Griffiths-Jones Physics and space.
The cerebellum involves motor learning and people who suffer with Autism have an effect on how the cerebellum functions. There is often an increase in the number of synapses. The increase in synapses creates miscommunication amongst neurons. The developing brain that correlates with learning impairment, the genes (Ubiquitin ligases) linked with Autism function similar to a working order; telling the rest of the cell how to deal with the tagged proteins; this should be discarded; rerouted to another part of the cell.
From my perspective nothing hugely changed. I got little treats now and then because of my disability living allowance; days out with my sister; going to Liverpool or into Birkenhead market for the day with my mum or trips on the ferry over Mersey. Aside from that I was treated normally. I went to mainstream school but was put into small teaching groups throughout secondary school.”
Griffiths-Jones received a disability student allowance and obtained a printer, Microsoft word, a microphone and a power bank.
“Since I realised, I was different I’ve hated being labelled. Why do I have to be ‘Connor; Autistic, ADHD, Asperger’s, anxiety, depression, suicidal risk.” Why not ‘Connor, he’s a little weird.’”
Griffiths-Jones cannot make eye contact whilst talking to people, on some occasions he gets up and starts wondering about, without realising it. He struggles to know when a conversation or meeting is over and he has an extreme fascination for Physics and space.
His paediatrician sent him to anger management therapy because of his anxiety. During those group sessions he broke a kid’s noise and threw a chair another kid. At the beginning of year ten he would have just smacked you if you upset him. The confusion of changes would scare him and that made him violent.
“Sometimes I didn’t understand what was said or like something and I would get angry. The first time I got angry was during a meet and greet activity. The activity was accepting apologises, everyone in the circle had to insult someone and apologise for it. This was done alphabetically; I Was the first name on the list. This was not the best introduction I’ve had.”
The anger management therapy sessions started after Griffiths-Jones was affected after his bullying stopped, in primary school. He did not understand why. His anxiety kicked in and he panicked.
“It got to the point where for the other students’ safety I had to be isolated. I was given a football and was left to play on the field, even during wet play. I had no choice.