“I’m Autistic. This Is What It’s Like For Me Using London Transport”
By Lauren Malina-Goldsmith
When you look at me, you would not have a clue that I am autistic.
I am 21 and a university student. For the most part, I experience pretty much the same things as anyone else: lectures, hobbies and socialising.
Until you take a look inside my mind. I think about how I affect the world around me way more than the average person, even on things as simple as public transport. I am a Londoner, so I’m lucky I have had the chance to adapt to the city’s underground and buses, but they still present challenges for me every time I use them.
I do not live in walking distance of a tube station, so my journey always begins with a bus. I quietly tap my Oyster and find somewhere on the bottom deck to balance, because I am scared of falling down the stairs while the bus is in motion.
Things don’t stop there: I panic about where to sit or stand in case someone else needs the space, even though technically I can use priority spaces as autism is a disability. But even if I choose to wear a sunflower lanyard to indicate my hidden disability to people:
- Most people are not aware of the sunflower lanyard and what it means.
- Should I really have to disclose that I am disabled to a stranger?
- Would they care once they knew?
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