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Sometimes, on the days where positives are hard to find, I forget how far I’ve come. I’ve been reminded of that recently, it was after a telephone conversation with the principal of the special needs school I went to.

We talked about scripting, and how I remembered singing “Leave me alone” by Michael Jackson, as a response to a staff member. That at the time it was the only reference I had that I could use, that I could script. It truly was a difficult conversation, discussing my childhood and time at the school. Especially as I was open about the experiences that I had at that time. I also explained that scripting gave me a very limited way to communicate. I’d been through loads of therapies there. Like learning to hold a fork (knife, pen etc) correctly, as was said at the time.

Unfortunately this meant that when I unmasked and my natural traits came back, I had to learn how to pick things up with clenched hands again, like I did as a child. Some of my traits were so deeply masked that I don’t remember having them before. That said I’m sure they were there (arms reacting to sounds etc), I just don’t remember them. The call ended after about an hour, but I do think it helped me, to reduce the impact of those memories. I must admit, he didn’t dismiss my experiences, and actually said he was in awe of what I’ve accomplished.

In my teens and early twenties I spent most of my time trying to find friendships, relationships and work. All of which were pretty hard to find. By the time I met my wife I was almost completely shut down. Only really interacting with a handful of people, and was silent for long periods.

Unmasking and learning to communicate without scripting was a battle. You are fighting against your instincts, which caused you to mask in the first place. I’ve still a lot of figure out, some thing’s I probably should have learnt a long time ago, but, I also have to recognise how far I’ve come.

All our best and love

Ross Fraser and Jeni Dern


Written by – Ross Fraser

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