A couple of weeks ago I was searching for a magazine from 1992 – I still haven’t yet found the magazine… while searching I stumbled upon a folder of my old English school work. In the folder were stories I had written, the write up of my work experience I had done (I got work experience with a scuba diving company because I wanted to spend a week scuba diving if I’m not in school, rather than like most other students who got jobs in banks and shops etc…), and a write up about ‘day in the life of…’ which I thought was an interesting snapshot of 15 year old Dan…
I was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder as an adult, so when I found this I found it interesting to read looking back knowing in the future I was going to be diagnosed as having autism. It is only a brief snapshot, I never used to write much – which was something (along with comments about the state of my handwriting) which was said on the work by my English teacher.
Here is what I wrote:
A day in the life of – By Dan aged 15
I get up early at about 6.45am. When I get up I usually start hitting my alarm clock because it wakes me up suddenly and it sounds like a cockerel. I decide to get out of bed at about 7am. I will get up at 7am never mind what day it is. After washing I will get some breakfast.
For breakfast I usually have 2 bowls of Alpen and a cup of tea, or 2 bowls of Weetabix and a cup of tea. I then go to my room to eat my breakfast, only going out of my room to wash up my dish, cup and spoon. When I come home from school I usually stay in my room. After breakfast I go to school at 8.25am. I want to live on my own in peace and quiet.
For lunch at school I usually only have a can of Pepsi Max and a chicken and sweetcorn roll. When I get home from school I make my tea which is usually a few bowls of Alpen or Weetabix which I eat in my room. Then on Friday’s I will go to pool coaching from 4.30pm to 9.30pm leaving my homework until the next day. If it is a school night I will do my homework straight after eating my tea, then I will read some library books, and do some car and boat designs. I do car and boat designs because I want to build my own car and boat with my latest designs of wind powered cars and wind and water powered boats.
I hardly watch the news because I don’t really care about other people, the only things I care about are sea creatures and land animals, especially sharks, whales and spiders. I will usually read for hours about factual things, not fictional things because I don’t like fictional books. As I have got a TV and video recorder in my bedroom I sometimes watch my videos until about 2.30am, but if I am not watching any videos then I will just read or do my designs until about 2.30am (sometimes just drawing my cat).
I listen to music a lot, usually Elvis Presley as he is my favourite singer, I find that music helps me to work and relax in and out of lessons and so I always put a tape on just before I decide to go to sleep. I sometimes write horror stories if I am in a bit of a mood and I want to calm down but usually people say that they are too disgusting to read but I like them and I like writing any story, especially from my dreams, but they usually turn out to be horror.
My current thoughts on some of this
What I found interesting reading this is how I had rigid routines that I wanted to follow. I liked Alpen and Weetabix because of the texture of them when they are soaked in plenty of milk. Even today I could just eat Weetabix or Alpen with lots of milk. I liked chicken and sweetcorn rolls that I used to be able to get at school for lunch because they were soft rolls and full of filling which was soft and sloppy, and I liked the way the sweetcorn would pop in your mouth as it is eaten – I still like deep-filled chicken and sweetcorn sandwiches or rolls as a preferred choice of sandwich, although, just like as a child, I’m not a huge fan of bread – although I used to like chewing Mighty White bread as it would turn into a doughball which I could chew for hours. Generally I see bread as there just to hold the filling in place. As an young adult I used to buy the chicken and sweetcorn sandwich filler pots and would just eat the filling out of the pot with a fork with no need for the bread.
I still generally wake early and go to bed late, and listen to Elvis Presley almost every day, and read non-fiction books and very rarely read fiction books, and still like animals and nature, etc… I love playing pool, but as an adult I don’t get the opportunity like I did as a teenager. As a teenager I used to attend pool coaching on Wednesday’s, Fridays, Saturday’s and Sunday’s, for many hours each day, and would play pool outside of pool coaching. As a 14/15 year old I used to attend about 30 hours per week of pool coaching, and used to fit swimming and martial arts in during my evenings as well. I also still desire peace and quiet…
The videos I used to watch as a teenager were usually documentaries. I had (and still have it but it is on video) a favourite Dolphin documentary with Robin Williams meeting dolphins, and a favourite shark documentary, both of which I would watch most days. I also had 3 hour videos of cartoons (looney toons etc) and would watch these over and over, and I had recorded Elvis Presley’s 68 Comeback Special off of the TV, and marked on the VHS with marker pen to show where on the video the programme started, and I would watch this over and over again.
For music I learned that if I recorded onto a tape in stereo, and then recorded onto the same cassette tape in mono it would have two songs playing when you listen through headphones, with one song playing through the left ear, and another song playing through the right ear. I used to listen to music in this way and had some songs – like Elvis Presley’s If I Can Dream recorded in exactly the same location on both sides of the cassette tape so that I could listen to it on one side, and then turn the tape over and listen to the same song again straightaway on the other side, and would often have Elvis Presley playing in one ear, and Queen or the Grease music playing in my other ear simultaneously…
Another piece of work I found was where I had to write down what books I read, and what TV and films I watched over a half-term week. In that document I list not really watching many films, but reading two or three non-fiction library books per day (stating which books), and reading and re-reading annuals each day – like Beano annuals and Dandy annuals. Again I was about 14/15 at the time. I didn’t read any ‘story’ books, but I have always liked comics.
My autism book ‘Look Into My Eyes’ is available from Amazon and other retailers in Paperback, on Kindle, and other eBook retailers (like iBookstore, Nook, Kobo, etc). Here is a link to the book on Amazon: http://apn.to/prod/1542551196