Photo of boy with TV presenter Philip Schofield, in the spectrum logo

 

Meet Daniel, ITV This Morning’s biggest fan.

In this open letter to Holly and Phil, the presenters of This Morning, Daniel explains why he watches This Morning as part of his routine and asks to share his story live on the ITV This Morning sofa about how unexpected changes can make autistic people feel and what he does to cope with the changes of everyday life.

 

Dear Holly and Phil,

I’m autistic, and although most people have heard of autism, people can still stare and laugh. I find change especially upsetting. This year, I started studying for my GCSEs, something that most people my age find really stressful. School started piling on extra lessons and scheduling mock exams that I wasn’t expecting, changing my routine at the last minute. The pressure was building, and when I feel pressure, I forget things. Because I have to go over the same information over and over again to understand it, my notes and flashcards took a long time to write, but when I opened my folder in geography class, they were gone. I ripped my folder up and threw it on the floor. Another boy in my class started laughing at me because I was crying.

People find it hard to tell autistic meltdowns and temper tantrums apart, but they are very different. I wasn’t attention seeking.

The meltdown was completely overwhelming, like a volcanic eruption that’s been rumbling for weeks, triggered by a small change in my routine.

Cooling down afterwards felt incredibly isolating. Sometimes, I feel like nobody understands why I find change so difficult, or my reactions to things when I’m feeling like I have no control.

But there is one thing that makes me feel better: watching ITV’s This Morning.

Not a single day goes by that I don’t watch This Morning. It is my coping mechanism when I’m stressed. Life is unpredictable, and one of the many things that make me watch This Morning over and over again is that there is structure to the program, and structure helps me cope with uncertainty. Although I moan about school, I will miss it, because I know that leaving school is going to be the most challenging things for me to do as I can’t predict what will happen next. This Morning helps me feel connected to society through the interviews of people from lots of different walks of life and no matter how isolated people are feeling, or why they might be watching at home during the day, you are always there to make people laugh and feel as though they have friends.

I’m going to This Morning Live this year and I’m really looking forward to experiencing the atmosphere myself. I would love to come into the ITV This Morning studio and share my story to help people understand what it can be like to be autistic so they don’t feel judged, my love of This Morning and how we can create a society that works for autistic people who struggle with unexpected changes.

Love, Daniel

 

Find out more

Specialised interests and routines can be a way for autistic people to cope with everyday changes, but you can help by giving as much notice as possible and clear information to help autistic people process change. Download this poster to find out more about The Five Big Things autistic people want you to know to help create a society that works for autistic people.