Growing Up Autistic: 11 Tips for Teenagers with Autism by Chris Bonnello



I was the weird kid.

More specifically, I was the boy with Asperger Syndrome before anyone knew what Asperger Syndrome was.

When I was ten, an educational pscyhologist came to assess me. Today one of those assessments would give me an immediate diagnosis, and my parents and teachers would be offered advice on how to help me where I struggled.

But of course, it was 1995. So this professional pscyhologist wrote down “slightly odd personality” on his form and that’s where it ended. (I’m not kidding, that is a literal quote from the report he wrote and submitted).

Growing up on the autism spectrum can be difficult. Especially if, as I’ve described before, you’re on the “mild” end of the spectrum – ‘normal enough’ for people to have high expectations of you, but just ‘autistic enough’ to really struggle to achieve them.

If you’re growing up on the spectrum, these tips were written for you. I grew up with autism myself: I struggled with isolation, I struggled with understanding other people, and I struggled with other people not understanding me.

So, from one autistic to another, here is my honest advice to you.

Top 11 Tips for Growing Up on the Autism Spectrum

1.   Whatever you’re going through, you are not alone.

2.   The only person who can decide who you are is you.

3.   Sometimes your pace and methods will be different, and that’s totally fine.

4.   Once your school days are over, they’re over forever.

5.   Find the places where you can play to your strengths.

6.   Don’t blame yourself for things that aren’t your fault.

7.   If you need help, ask for it.

8.   Everyone else finds things difficult too.

9.   I’d rather be happy than normal.

10. Remember how much you’re loved.

11. Finally, listen to other people’s advice.

Want to read more explanation on these tips?

I highly recommend listenign to the podcast interview, where I Chris tells me how he embraced his autistic identity and this changed his life!

Here are some links to other fabulous blogs we talked about in the podcast episode 

Ten reasons your autistic child needs to learn chess right now

If you want more of Chris follow him on these socials!

Chris’ website =

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Are you tired of characters with special needs being tokenised and based on sterotypes, or being the victims rather than the heros? This novel series by Chris Bonnello may interest you!

Did you enjoy this personal account podcast episode? I have a number of other podcast episodes which may be of interest!

Click the images below to listen to the podcast episodes

In my interview with Yenn we discuss
✅ How to support young people to find employment

✅ Thriving (not just surviving) in the workplace
✅ Whether to disclose a diagnosis when applying for a job

✅ Autism acceptance and focusing on strengths

Listen here 

In my interview with Dean we discuss

✅ Autistic identity – follow Dean’s personal account of reclaiming his own identity

✅ Why Dean doesn’t like the word “label” and why we should call it a diagnosis

✅ The negative narrative which surrounds autism and how to positively reframe it

✅ How to make children the solution to behaviour rather than blaming them

✅ The impact of anxiety

Listen here

In my interview with Robyn we discuss
✅The importance of sharing accurate information about Periods
✅What to tell, how to tell about Periods
✅Why it is important to share with boys/men so they understand too

Listen here


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