voices header, young people on quad bikes

Fly like a bird

I want to write about my leisure time and about my opportunities for enjoyment with other young people of my age. I am severely autistic and so need my mother with me at all times. I want this to change and I am sure that someone else would be able to take me to the places I frequent at the moment. I am worried that it is exhausting for her as she is getting older and I am very energetic.

I want to find people who will take me ice skating, climbing and trampolining. I need people who will learn my method of communication which is facilitated communication, and I sadly feel that I am too isolated at present. I am at a day centre but after I come home I am alone with my parents.

I am awfully in need of alternative sources of support. I am also pleased to say that I can type alone now but need more facilitators for validation purposes. I think that people are doubtful of my abilities because I am autistic, but I am as articulate as the next man. However, I need the reassurance of a trained facilitator who can rescue me if my motor problems overwhelm me, which happens if I am tired or unwell.

I am awfully dependent in my impaired state, but is made worse by a culture which has little value for a person who cannot stand up on his own two feet. I can stand in the literal sense but I need help with my communication, and I am appalled that my dependent state is seen as a reason for my being killed as a foetus if the defect had been known before I was born.

I think I have something to offer other people, in that I am lacking some of their cynicism and sophisticated attitudes, which often mask an ignorance of the essential aspirations that should be the first preoccupation of all people.

People have forgotten the simple qualities such as kindness and self-sacrifice for those weaker than themselves, and that there is a need for a moral superiority in a person who perceives such needs, and is prepared to put themselves out to help an impaired fellow member of the human race. I am waiting to find such people and then I will take off and soar like a bird.

Osian Baworowski, 2002 in Murray, P. Hello! Are you listening? Disabled teenagers’ experience of access to inclusive leisure (York, York Publishing Services)

Fly Like a Bird © Osian Baworowski 2002

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"If we didn't even listen the world would stop going around and we wouldn't even have friends."
Miriam, aged 11