The hardest part about being neurodivergent, at school, was the realisation that it was *ME* that was the problem. Of course that wasn’t the case – it was two clashing cultures and I happened to be in the minority one – but when you attend four different schools and in every single one the other children bully you relentlessly even though you thought you’d get a ‘fresh start’, you start to realise that it’s not some mistake that made you the target in the first place.

When you’re the only child with no friends, left out by everyone and bullied at every turn, you know it isn’t random. With each school change came repeated reminders that I didn’t get a ‘fresh start’. I was who I was, and I deserved what I got.

At first I wondered if somehow notes had been passed from child to child across the country, telling them that I was the perfect victim, but in the end I accepted that I, myself, was the note. They didn’t need to be told. They could pick me out in moments. Easy victim. Vulnerable. Weird. I didn’t belong, and no change of school was going to fix that.

What could have made school better:

Provide a safe space for spending free time. No moment of the school experience was positive, but the absolute worst memories were of standing in a quiet, empty corridor every break and lunch time and hoping I wouldn’t be seen because I was ashamed of being alone, but would’ve felt even worse if I’d been amongst my peers.