Future Voices: Olivia’s experiences of growing up with autism

Olivia Hudson

Olivia Hudson - Credit: Archant

Future Voices spoke to Olivia Hudson, 17, from Great Yarmouth, about her experiences of growing up with autism.

Q What is it like growing up as a disabled young person in Great Yarmouth?

A I think my life as a child was very good, I felt the same as any other child and spent a lot of time with my family. I have some great memories and loved going on family bike rides. At school things were a bit harder but I got support with maths and English. I did find making friends hard as I have mild autism and I am a shy person. Things are better now that I'm at college and since joining Equal Lives Youth Forum I have met some lovely characters.

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Q What do you do in your spare time?

A My hobbies are dancing, singing, swimming and cooking. In my free time I like to just relax and watch films, help my nan with the gardening and I'm often changing my hair colour! I don't really watch TV or soaps and my favorite celebrity is the comedienne, Catherine Tate. I love Chinese food and my favourite shops are River Island and New Look. I am just like anyone else and that's what I hope people understand when they read this.

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Q How do you feel about disability, how do others treat you and have you done anything to raise awareness of disability?

A I've worked around the barriers to my disability quite well. I know I like things to be organized, I like routine, so I make sure I use my diary. My family and college support me also and then I'm less anxious. At school I felt like I could not do as much as other people, but now I know what I'm good at and I'm more confident. I can dance, cook and sing! Recently I went a national demonstration with Equal Lives against cuts to services for disabled people and the best part was meeting Russell Brand. Most people treat me the same as others. There are other people quite worse off. People that don't know about disability can have a different opinion. I do think a lot more should be done to raise awareness of disability.

Q What would you say to other disabled young people?

A If you want to do something, just go and do it! Don't worry what other people think!

If you are a young disabled person aged 14-25 and want to get involved with Equal Lives Youth Forum please contact Matthew Talbot on 01508 491216 or youthforum@equallives.org.uk

Olivia Hudson 17, Great Yarmouth

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