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Jackson’s story

About my family

I'm 13 years old, I'll be turning 14 next month, which is in October.  For my birthday, I might have a party at Flip Out, it's fun. I live with my dad, my sister, my mum. Mum likes cycling and going out with other mums and talking with them, like my cousins' mums, she likes going out with them. The best thing about mum is that she cooks good meals for me.

I like my dad because he takes me on a lot of holidays. We go to Brisbane every year, we never go anywhere around Australia, we just go to Brisbane for holidays. We go to Brisbane because my family is there and I like it, that's the real reason why we go there. My dad says we could go anywhere in Australia. He did let me have a choice of going to Melbourne or maybe Adelaide, but he says I want to go to Brisbane. The real reason why I don’t want to go to Melbourne or anywhere in Australia, is because I like Brisbane. Dad always goes to Adelaide every year for cycling and he's going to Canberra next month for cycling.  I cycle with them sometimes. We go out together on Fridays, me and dad, to Casuarina and look around.

My sister is in Year 12. She likes going out with her friends and she also works at a pizza shop now.  I have $23 saved up on my board, I was going to pay her $23 to get me a cheese pizza, but dad says it's best for me to save my crosses for something that I really like. I earn crosses when I've been good or doing jobs or exercise.

Pets

When I was a really little kid my dad had a big farm in Katherine.  He gave me and my sister two chickens, but then my dog Zack killed my sister's chicken and my auntie's dog killed my chicken. Then we got Zack, we had Zack with us as a pet, he's a dog and his breed was Jack Russel cross Fox Terrier cross Chihuahua, he died from old age. We also had a bird called Ollie, he was like a cockatiel, but we lost him by accident.

I don’t have any pets at the moment but I would like to get maybe a dog, but my dad says it's too much stress, it's too much stress for my dad. My dad says I can get one with my own money when I grow up. I would like to get a Jack Russel and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. But they're purebred, so it's expensive. I'll walk them every day.

School

There are some schools that I would really like to go to. When I was a little kid I actually asked my dad to put me into middle schools in my area. My dad didn't have a choice to put me in one of those schools, so they put me in a special needs school, but when I'm in Year 10 my dad says he's going to try to put me into a different high school. My dad said when I'm in Year 10, he'll just try.

I don’t want to be at my school actually, but I have no choice.  My school is good and I do have friends, but I actually rather be in a normal school. If I go to a normal school, I think the kids will be nicer and they'll be my friends.

I do have friends at my school but I think the kids are different at my school. I went to camp once, there was this boy called Mark, he was nice. He looked after me and he's a good talker. All the kids at my school are not really like that, so that's why I want to go to a different school. There were local primary school kids who I made friends with when they came to visit my school once for like a science thing. I made some new friends that day.  There were kids from a different primary school who also came, they were like eight years old.  I didn’t play with them because they were littler than me, so I'd rather be playing with kids who are like nearly my age.

When I was living in Katherine my dad put me into a catholic primary school, but I didn’t really have friends there because I was too shy. Then the government said I had to go to a special needs school. So first they put me into the special needs school, but then they put me into a nearby primary school, but they were connected to each other. I was happy at the public school, but then teachers were not nice, so I left and went back to a normal class in the special needs school. Then I went to a special needs middle school, they gave me the chance of going to an Outreach program where the local middle school and my school are connected, but I found it too hard, so I went back to my school.

My favourite thing that I like to do at school is community access.  It's when we get on the bus and we go somewhere to get out the class a little bit. Sometimes we go to the waterfront and we go to different places.  We do go to places where you have to pay money. We go every Thursday.  But when we go somewhere for an excursion, if it's shut we go out somewhere for a drive in the bus, that's what we do instead. First, when it's a Thursday morning, we all talk about it as a class. My teachers talk about it, but then they tell us. I like to be really prepared.

My teachers talk really angrily at me and my other teacher is not nice. They are like that all the time. There's another teacher, I talk to her, she's a nice teacher. Some teachers accuse me, because sometimes kids are mean to me first and when I'm mean to them back, they all say I'm mean to kids, but really, they're mean to me first, they accuse me.

There's a chart in our classroom, green means you've done good, but then when you've done something naughty that's just a small thing, you go on to the yellow. Then if you be naughty again you're on the red which means no community access. You just stay in class doing work. I had to stay in the classroom doing work, which is like detention. I feel like I've been accused for something.

What Aspergers means to me

I have Asperger's and when there's someone who doesn't have Aspergers I'm jealous of them because they go to a school that I can't go to. So that’s why it makes me feel different because when I see other kids who don't have Asperger's, they go to the school that I like, which makes me sad.

I had a cousin called David and his cousin on his dad's side is called Harry and he has Aspergers and I talked to him once, he was a good friend actually. And I know Steve, who's my mum's cousin. Guess what happened to my cousin with Asperger's, Steve? He never got sweets when he was a kid because he got too hyper. I get really hyper when I have a lot of sweets, but my dad, it's lucky, he lets me have a little bit because when Steve was a kid, his mum, never had sweets, never, ever.

I think it's easier talking to other people who have Aspergers, they understand me better. We talk about superheroes or Aspergers or worries. But I have no kids with Asperger's to talk to. I go to social groups, but I don’t know if they have Aspergers sometimes.

What frustrates me

What frustrates me is like when there's this teacher, who's at my school, when he's yelling at me and getting angry at me, this frustrates me as I can’t do my work when I feel stressed inside me. I feel like getting angry and breaking stuff in the classroom, like a meltdown. Sometimes I try to tell another teacher what he does, but they do nothing so I run out of class. The teacher says I can't run out of class, but I just do it because I'm upset, and it makes me feel good.

Other things that make me upset is when kids with autism hurt me, that makes me angry.  I get bullied at school. The kids were playing pool and I cheated in the game because I was upset. Sometimes I just feel upset and I don’t know why. There was this kid at my special needs primary school, who bullied me, and he had real autism, he couldn’t talk, but the teachers did nothing, and I was sad.

When kids with autism pick on me sometimes I get upset because the kids with bad autism don’t get in trouble, but I do because my brain works better.  Sometimes when kids with autism, really bad autism, hurt me first and when I hurt them back they don’t blame the kids with autism, they blame me for it because they're more autistic than me. Sometimes I feel like I want to punch them, but my dad doesn’t want me to be suspended.  The teachers don’t give me tools or things to do to calm myself down but to make myself feel better I go on my iPad.

What I am good at

I'm good at gym, sometimes we have gym at my school. There's this lady who comes to my school called Margo and I'm good at what she makes me do, it’s hard work. I'm also good at making up stories, like comic books. Sometimes I make up comic books in my own head, like the Avengers.  I don’t draw comics, I just make them up in my head.

When we play poison ball, people try to throw the ball at me, I'm good at getting out of the way of the ball.  I'm good at dodging and I'm also good at karate. Mum and dad say that I’m good at telling stories and karate.

My favourite things to do are to watch cartoons and reading comic books. When I grow up I'm thinking about getting statue action figures, they're really expensive, but I will use my own money to get them. I'd like to play with them and display them. I like to watch cartoons, my favourite cartoons to watch are: Jimmy Neutron, Adventure Time, Titans and the Regular Show, Penguins of Madagascar, Avengers Assemble, Guardians of the Galaxy and Batman: The Brave and the Bold.

Friends

I do have friends. There's this kid who I like playing with who lives in Brisbane and when I go over to his house in Brisbane I play with him, his name's Robert and there's one called Roman. They are my dad's friend's sons.  Robert's 11, turning 12 and Ross is 16 years old. I am in the middle and Ross's the oldest. They all live in Brisbane and I only see them when I go there. In Darwin, I like playing with my new friends at that came over to my school for a visit, those were my friends outside of school.

It makes me feel stressed when I'm with other people. I'm okay with the people at the Casuarina shops but I don’t like being in crowds of people.

I wouldn't want to have a big brother because when I was a little kid I used to think big brothers and little brothers used to always get along, but if there was a little kid and a big brother, they would fight a lot. So, I wouldn't want to have a big brother because then me and him would fight. Robert and Ross, they fight sometimes. So, I like having just a boy who's a friend.

Laughter and relaxation

What makes me laugh is when Homer’s trying to drink out a straw, like a Coke, and he misses it and he pokes his eye out. Also, when Homer's walking and then he falls off a cliff when he's not looking where he's going.  And maybe penguins chucking snow at people and Monsters Inc. Dad makes me laugh. He has a lot of Dad jokes, they are good jokes.

To relax I'd like to maybe sit on my couch and watch my favourite movies. My favourite movie is Avengers: Age of Ultron. What would make me relax is playing with my pets, like my dogs, but they've gone now. So, when I grow up and get my own place I might do that to relax, play with my dogs.

Future plans

My plan is when I finish school, I'm going to go to the university in Brisbane, then after five years, I'm going to get myself an old house in Brisbane, an old Queensland house. First, I'm going to start working in a primary school, then middle, school then a high school. When I first work in the high school I'm going to become a principal and then I'm thinking about making my own school play. It's going to be called Moby Dick. I'm starting to read the book. But guess what I'm going to do for the play? Kids, they're going to be in the play, but guess who can come? Parents can come, families can come, so not just kids come, families can come.

Advice for parents

My advice for parents who have children with Aspergers is to go easy on the kids when they're naughty. Because if you go hard on kids with Aspergers it won't help, that'll just make the kids with Asperger's angry or upset. So my dad's soft on me because he knows that if he's hard on me I'll be upset or angry.

What I want people to know about me

Sometimes I'm upset and they're not understanding why, that’s what I want people to know about me. Sometimes when me and dad have just been on a holiday in Brisbane, and when I'm upset, I want people like at family gatherings, to know that I don’t like my mum saying, “it's okay”.  I like talking to my dad because he'll understand, because my Dad used to live in Brisbane, so I trust him calming me down when I'm upset about Brisbane. Mum won't understand because she never lived in Brisbane.

What should people do around me if I’m starting to get upset?

Sometimes my Dad says, ‘it's okay John, we'll go to Brisbane next year’.

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