‘An excellent reputation...’
'The Teenage Aspie'
by Callum Giles.
The National Autistic Society is our charity of the year and this week we are celebrating Autism Acceptance Week. One of our Administration Assistants in the case admin team has shared his remarkable journey with us. In Callum's story below, he talks about his diagnosis, how he's raised awareness of his condition and what amazing things he has achieved...
My channel, The Teenage Aspie, came to life through a simple ‘Gen-Z orientated’ idea, mixed with my overriding passions for digital media creation and advocacy.
I have been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, sensory processing disorder (SPD) and dyspraxia since I was 4 years old, and growing older, I have learnt through my parents and medical professionals about the prevalence and uniqueness regarding my diagnosis. People with Asperger’s Syndrome view the world slightly differently than the average neurotypical; they react differently to a multitude of scenarios, which develops what are seen as irregular social skills, irregular gross motor skills, and constant habits. Hence, this sadly meant off the back of getting diagnosed, followed tons of grief over my years in education - from being bullied each day throughout both primary and secondary school due to my appearance and unique behaviours, I strived to find a place where I could document my experiences with the world, in the hopes that it would resonate with at least one person and reassure them that they are not alone.
Upon trying to find this ‘outlet’, I discovered an online niche, exactly of which I have described above – there was next to nobody online making videos on YouTube about their own experiences with autism in general, let alone with Asperger’s, with the objective to aim towards a ‘Gen-Z’ audience. This was something that truly shocked me, while at the same time, something that opened a HUGE room of opportunity for me to take full advantage of this niche, and really exercise my channel’s main aim of creating a community for other ‘Aspies’ to share experiences they have gone through themselves, to integrate and befriend not only myself, but others in and around the network that’s been built. From then, my channel The Teenage Aspie was made, and the process in making short and snappy content with minimal editing began to take shape.
While attending college, the vice principal managed to find out about my channel and what it revolves around, and with my permission, entered me into a competition named the Vlogstar Challenge, ran by MediaTrust, in association with Jack Petchey Foundation. Their focus was on finding the next, fresh batch of young YouTube ‘vlogging stars’, who have a passion to create and inspire. After an informative workshop by the two companies, I was honoured to have received their ‘Rising Star’ award in the challenge’s grand finale. After receiving this award with much gratitude, I then went about making content again without thinking much of it - yet nothing could have prepared me for the response I received.
Just a month or so after my award win, I took part in interviews for BBC Radio Counties, BBC Radio 1 Drivetime with Eddie Nestor, The Beat London, BBC Young Reporters, wrote a column for the Hillingdon Post, and did an online website interview for my college, The Global Academy. Ever since taking on job-searching, the channel has become slightly inactive, however in light of World Autism Acceptance Week, I am aiming to release a video celebrating the event. The channel currently sits on 129 subscribers, with well over 2,000 total views. You can view it here: The Teenage Aspie - YouTube
Additionally, as mentioned, please find my BBC Young Reporters and Global Academy interviews below:
BBC Young Reporters: What makes a good vlog?- BBC Young Reporter - YouTube
Global Academy: https://globalacademy.com/news/student-makes-it-to-vlogstar-final/