Peri Savidge

@notraingirl | contributor
Hello I'm Peri, I have Autism and other conditions which all make my day to day life pretty tricky but pretty interesting too. I love sharing my insight with the world.
Community Voices

What they don't tell you in Sex-Ed..

Part 1 of 2 Throughout my school years I attended many #sexedclasses they all covered different aspects however all had a very common theme in them which was “If you have #Sex without protection you WILL get pregnant” they went into great details about safe sex and how to practice it, they even spoke about options if you were to fall pregnant, and the help and support out there.I’m 25yrs old and I have carried those lessons around with me in my head for years but not because what I learned from them but because of what they were lacking, you see the word #Infertility never came up in those lessons, what it was or why it happened, never mind support for it. Instead I learned the word as I watched my older siblings battle against it as #Infertilitycame banging on their doors yet I was still absolutely clueless on the full meaning until it came banging on mine last year.Since then I’ve been on this journey that I was not prepared for, I’m in a rollercoaster that has sharp bends and big loops yet my seatbelt does not do up instead I’m having to hold on as tight as I can and try to grab supplies to fix my belt just as I’m collecting knowledge about this unknown subject a subject that I should of been taught on.What to do when you want to start a family yet your haunted with negatives every month?How to accurately track your ovulation days and how many days your cycles are?What to do if your not in a #Relationships but you want to become a Mummy? And the stigma around it?Information about sperm donorsInformation about IVFThe anger and grief you go through everyday and how it comes in waves and some of the waves can knock you down for what seems like weeks..How to deal with the overwhelming guilt you feel when you feel such pain when a family member or friend announces they are expectingConstant Dr appointments and the tests with the exact same responses “try to loose weight” “your time will come” “your still young you got time”Feeling such a type of broody that it actually hurtsMy life has become a draw full of pre-pregnancy supplants, ovulation tests, pregnancy tests, ovulation/period tracking tools, donor information, tables and charts and notes and Dr letters. I’m having to learn about all about this while living through it however I know exactly how to put a condom on and the different types of contraceptions there are and my rights if I wanted to terminated so why didn’t I know anything about #Infertility, how didn’t I know that #Infertility affects 84% of couples and half of women, how didn’t I know that there are so many different types of #Infertility ranging from just taking a long time to get pregnant to illnesses such as #PolycysticOvarySyndrome, how didn’t I know that the fact that I didn’t start my period till I was 18 could have something to do with my now issues to conceive, how didn’t I know that sometimes I won’t get a period but not because I’m pregnant but because my hormone levels can’t regulate, how didn’t I know that at just 25yrs old I would be experiencing isolating nightmare.I think that’s the main thing people forget to tell you about the trying to conceive journey is how #lonely it is, I struggle to connect with my peers because of how cut of this journey has made me, I feel like I’m in a prison where #Infertility are the bars while I’m looking through watching my friends and family live their lives, lives without negative tests, appointments, draw fulls of supplants and failed tests, baby clothes that stay in the closet for what may even be forever and there is nothing they or anyone can say to make this better.I wish they would of mentioned this all in sex ed, honestly that could of put people off the idea of reproducing all together because I wouldn’t wish this journey on anyone but at least I would of been prepared and that I wouldn’t have to be battling blind through this beast. #Infertility and trying to conceive needs to be spoken about more and it needs to be a conversation that is had at schools that

Community Voices

What they don't tell you in Sex-Ed..

Part 2 of 2 students can be prepared for the future so that u like me they won’t need to fight blind..

Community Voices

What they don't tell you in Sex-Ed..

<p>What they don't tell you in Sex-Ed..</p>
1 person is talking about this
Peri Savidge

Being a Nonverbal Child With Autism

I was not fully verbal until I was 10 years old. I said my first word at 6 years old, but stopped saying much else until I was 10. I can still remember my time being nonverbal and preverbal very clearly. I remember the pure frustration and isolation I felt not just around me but within myself as well. I feel like I need to give the people who are still struggling with their voices a voice, and give the public insight as to what they may be going through by sharing my experiences of when I was nonverbal. My brain: “You’re hungry, you need to ask for some food.” Me: … My brain: “Come on, just say ‘Dad, I’m hungry.’ He’s right over there.” Me: … My brain: “Come on, that’s it, walk up to him.” Me: “Aaaaaaruuuaaaa!” Falls in front of dad and begins to scream. My brain: “Oh here we go again, you know what you want, why can’t you just say it?” Me: full blown meltdown “Aaaaaaa! Noooooo! Aaaaaaaaaah!” My brain: “You did this the other day when you were in pain, but couldn’t tell your siblings so you just screamed, cried and were aggressive. Look, he’s asking if you want food, you just need to nod.” Me: “Aaaaaaghhhhaaa! Hmmmmmm!” Loud humming. My brain: “Too far gone, I suppose.” This is how most days went when I needed something like food. I knew exactly what the problem was, but was unable to express my wants, needs or feelings, which resulted in frustration and meltdowns. I remember my younger sister made me play Barbies with her. She was of course making the Barbie speak with mine, but got annoyed because I was not making it talk. She was too young to understand I was not doing this on purpose, and despite not being able to speak, I was making the doll communicate — even if the things I was making it do might seem odd. I would undress the dolls, as my sister would often say it was a hot day in the world of Barbies. I would make the doll jump around happily, or I would move it wildly if it was suppose to be feeling a negative feeling. I would find this activity hard to join in — not only did it involve imaginative play, which I found really hard, but it also involved a lot of interactions using speech. Many kids, including my sister, are brought up to only listen with their ears and to focus on the voice as a means of communication and interaction. I also remember every time my older sister, whom I was very close to, would tell me she loved me. I would just seem oblivious to her and the world around me, until one day when I gained my voice I said “I love you too.” She cried so much — happy tears, I’m sure. In a typical family it may be a simple thing to say “I love you” and to get it back, but when there’s someone with autism in your household, that may change. Sometimes you have to listen to us with more than your ears. I was confused for a long time — why was she so shocked and happy that she cried tears just because I said something I have been showing her all along? Didn’t she notice when she came in the room I would jump about, make happy noises and flap my hands? Did she see the way I always wanted to be held by her and how I would stock her school bag with all my favorite toys and foods? As I have grown I have come to realize she probably knew I loved her back and that actions speak louder than words, but when someone is starved of something like my family was starved of my voice for so long, they dream of it; they need it to confirm things. When I said I loved her I was not just telling her I loved her, I was letting her into my world. I was connecting to her in a way which took everything in me. The words were the part that meant the least; it was about the actions and the wait behind it. Me: “Eh oh, Eh oh, time tubbie byes byes tubbie byes byes eh oh, eh oh.” Imitating Teletubbies. Doctors: “It seems like she can speak fine, and is just being lazy with requests.” Doctors: “What did you do at school today?” My brain: “You did some drawings and some math.Then you played outside and read a story. So come on, tell him.” Me: “Eh oh eh oh, we can fix it,” — a mix of “Teletubbies” and “Bob the Builder.” My brain: “Peri, come on, if you can say that, why can’t you say your own words?” Doctor: “Peri? What did you do at school today? Did you do some drawings? Me: Nods. Doctor: “What did you draw?” Me: … Doctor: “Peri?” Me: Aaaaarghhhhaaaa! My brain: “Oh boy…” I would script a lot, but often people would think just because I could script, I could speak my own words too. But this was wrong, as I was pretty much just being a parrot, repeating the words I had heard in the exact same voice and the exact same way. This is what I call being “pre-verbal.” After a meltdown I would often lay on my sibling’s lap or parents’ while they stroked my hair and talked about how they wished they could see what was going on in that head of mine. Oh how I wanted to tell them. Oh, how badly I wanted to scream from the rooftops who I truly was, because there was so much more than just this silent girl. There was so much more than met the eyes. I had amazing stories to tell — stories that had never been heard before, stories that would change the world. Stories that would likely be trapped in my head forever. If I had the chance to express my feelings to my loved ones back then; if I had a chance to tell them everything I so badly wanted to say, I think it would have gone like this: Please don’t cry. I know you are scared for me. I know you feel my frustration. I know you just want to hear my voice say those four little words — “I love you too.” I know you want me to be like other kids, chatting about our favorite movies and weekend plans. But please don’t cry, because when you cry it makes me feel like I have failed. It makes me feel like I’m failing at the one thing that could finally connect me with you. I sing a million songs and dance to my own melody, but my songs are just too precious and delicate to be heard by the world. They are too sensitive to be heard by ears. But if you just breathe in and dance with me, spin around with me, you can almost hear my song — quieter than silence but even more beautiful. Maybe one day I will be able to make my songs loud enough for the world to hear, but if not that’s OK, because I don’t need to speak to communicate with you. On some days I may act like I have no idea what you’re on about, but I understand every word. I’m just so tired, trying to connect with you — trying so hard with your speech regimes and endless word card games. I’m trying so hard, but I’m tired, so please listen to my songs. Come real close because they are just for you. Talking can be for anybody — anyone can talk to anyone — but you see, these silent songs are just for you, because I love you. The only way I can express my pain is to scream and cry; it’s like my voice is in a prison made of titanium bars. It can’t get out and maybe it never will. Maybe St. Jude has my voice — the patron saint of lost causes, because that’s what the doctors call me, right? I can’t express to you what I’m going through, but please don’t give up on me. Talk to me, play with me, give me patience. Don’t cry, don’t get angry — I’m trying. I know you love me and one day I will speak to you, even if it’s not with my voice. Until then, we will be all right. I did eventually speak and I’m thankful for that, but really I’m more thankful for finding and improving my ways to communicate. Speaking and communication are not the same thing. You can speak without communicating, and you can communicate without speaking. Writing will always be my first way of communicating as I feel like without writing I would not be able to express myself like I’m doing today. Writing is much more than a hobby, interest or love… it’s my voice, my only voice. To me, a voice does not need to make a sound — it just needs to be able to express feelings, and tell a billion stories. That is what my writing does for me and without it I would be lost. Of course my vocal voice is helpful when telling someone I’m hungry or that I hurt, or to fulfill simple requests and demands. But it is not my “voice.” It does not show everyone the real Peri. This journey has helped me to realize that all those years ago I wasn’t striving to speak, I was striving to communicate — to connect with the world. Here I am.

Peri Savidge

Open Letter to Special Education Teachers From a Student With Autism

Dear Teachers, Your job is long, difficult, empowering, heartbreaking, inspirational, needed and incredible! I cannot thank teachers enough for all they do. But here are a few things I want you to know, from a student with disabilities. We may not do everything by your book. This means you will have to put the book down and start reading us as individuals instead. We may depend on you more than neurotypical students; to us you may be our second parents. We know reaching us can be exhausting. But when you have a hard day, please know we have probably had it hard too. School can be overstimulating for many of us and getting through each day takes so much strength. Don’t assume our functioning level by what you first see. We are more complicated than a label. Do you know how damaging it is to hear you doubt our abilities because we are classed as “low functioning?” However, this can work the other way too. It’s incredibly damaging when teachers assume you can try harder than you already are because you seem “higher functioning.” Get down on our level; come and visit our world. Cross that barrier. It’s all about balance. Just because we need special education services does not mean we can’t aim high. We have the right to do GCSEs / standardized tests without having to sit with a outdated textbook. We deserve to learn and achieve in our own way. Let us move. We often give you our best work when we are moving. Sometimes we need movement breaks or to say our timetables while we lay on the carpet trying to get our body in sync. There will be days where our heads are full, our bellies full of fire, our hands are slapping our heads and our legs are taking us far far away. On days like these, be our guide. Let us be your shadow. We don’t mean to be clingy, we are just trying to feel safe, because in our mind it’s anything but calm. There will be days where we make you scream and cry. We may elope, we may shout at you — but please don’t give up on us. You may feel absolutely hopeless, but please don’t give up on us because there’s a chance that failure is all we know. Many of us have had many teachers before you give up on us. We have autism, but most importantly we are students who want to learn more than anything in the world. We understand that sometimes you may do stuff wrong, say the wrong things, get frustrated at us, confuse us and feel like you have failed us. But you haven’t, because you get up each morning and try again until you get it right. There will be days where we make you so proud that you are crying happy tears because you have finally found our key and you see all the possibilities flying out of us like never before. And you’re sitting there silently celebrating, “I did that!” I can’t imagine everything you go through. I don’t tell you these things because I don’t think you’re doing a good job; it’s the complete opposite. I tell you these things because I believe you want to get better. You want to understand us and teach us to the best of your ability. I am who I am today because of some extraordinary teachers, and I strive to be like them one day. Teachers, would you rather sweat blood to get us where we need us to be? Or would you rather sweat blood but not take us anywhere? We are worth it, I promise you. I’m fighting for a better education for my people. I’m fighting for a better life for my people. I hope this post will reach some teachers and maybe, just maybe they will take a read.

Community Voices

peace with death or suicidal?

Ever since I was young I was always at peace with death; meaning I was not at all scared of the fact of dying I was only scared of the pain that may follow my death for example getting hit by a car or a painful illness and of course the upset it may cause my loved ones as my goal in life was/is to make everyone happy. However the actual memes of Death never scared me in fact it enlightened me…. the peacefulness of it all and being finished with everything it often gave me great comfort, being autistic I loved having control and death well that was the ultimate control obviously in most cases we have no control over when or how it will happen but the actual act itself death is all in our control as it’s just finished it’s done it’s final and I liked that.

I’m 22years old now and my views surrounding death has not changed I still welcome death and not at all scared by it however as Through the years #Depression entered my life, feelings of hopeless and lack of self worth arisen with no warning I soon was found not only welcoming death but waiting for it to happen it’s a constant feeling it never really goes away it’s always there I’m just waiting…..and waiting and waiting which isn’t too much of a problem like I guess in a way we are all just waiting for our end to come but it’s when you start waking up disappointed because your end hasn’t come yet….it’s when crossing a road you carefully watch all the cars and wonder to yourself how quick it would be if you were to just close your eyes and take one step out into a busy road, it’s when you find yourself hoping that it will happen soon….. it’s when you are soaked in guilt because innocent people are dying everyday with no choice in the matter and there you are wishing it would happen already, it’s when you begin to not fear the upset it may cause your loved ones because you are Adamant that no one would nor should care because you don’t deserve anything good…..it’s when all these “littlel things” happen when it starts to be a little bit more than being at peace with death and not being scared of it….. before you know it your sat on the floor with your fingers in your ears begging these thoughts to just stop but they won’t go away….. they are getting louder and louder and louder your fingers are doing nothing to cover up the noise you can feel the pounding in your chest and the pain in your head, the voices are shouting at you and the dark thoughts are tearing you apart limb by limb until all of a sudden they stop, you stop, the world stops everything stops……it’s finished.

Please know the difference, please when it’s getting bad and please don’t ever be too scared to ask for help.being at peace with the thought death and sucide thoughts are not the same thing and knowing the difference between the two could save your life..

1 person is talking about this
Peri Savidge

I’m Autistic, and I Will Always Be Autistic

When I was born I was autistic. When I spoke my first word I was autistic. When I was diagnosed at 11 years old I was autistic. When I started experiencing puberty and the changes of becoming a woman, I was autistic. When I finished secondary school with GCSEs I was autistic. When I finished college with offers from five universities I was autistic. When I got my first job I was autistic. I’m a 21-year-old woman and I’m still autistic and always will be. I wish I could hide it away at times; I wish it was as easy as stuffing it back where it belonged. But it belongs in me — even when I’m made to feel like it doesn’t. Autism is not the measles. It’s not something you will “get over” with time. Just because you are doing “typical things” does not mean you are any less autistic. I was born autistic and I will die autistic. As I grow the pressure to act “less autistic” grows, but guess what — I can’t do that. I try and I try and gosh I would die trying because I just want to fit in — I don’t want to be lonely anymore. I’ve grown and adapted to so many things. I can speak, I don’t wet the bed, and I can use a washing machine! I’m smart, but I’m autistic. I’m hard work, such hard work that at times I hate myself. I feel like a disappointment when I can’t reach those goals you have placed upon me, and that’s because I’m autistic. I speak in a monotone. I can’t tell when I’m being rude and I can’t work out other people’s tones, often resulting in arguments and misunderstandings. I’m not being a smart ass; I’m actually confused by what you meant. It feels like walking on egg shells, hoping I don’t do anything “wrong,” knowing full well that if I did I couldn’t change it, because it’s in my DNA. I want to be able to go into a conversation carefree without having to open a manual on how to have a conversation without offending people. I want to joke and get jokes. I want to accept love and give love. I want to say what I mean and not just mean what I say. I don’t want to be locked in a jail cell where I can just about reach the keys but can’t get them to fit into the damn holes. At times I wish I was never able to reach those keys in the first place! I want to connect. I want to understand your feelings, but this barrier between us has been moved as much as it can be. Please don’t say I’m not trying, because I’m trying as hard as I can. If this was a physical problem, I would be sweating blood because of the strength I’m using to try. I want to be a role model, but I’m only human — a human with autism. I will probably never be good with tones or loud noises, changes, lack of control or lack of routine. I’m not a nasty person who destroys lives. I’m autistic, but that often gets treated as the same thing these days. Autistic people are the square peg that will never fit into your circular hole, yet you continue to bash us and try to make us fit because it seems like we almost can. But we can’t, so please stop or you will end up breaking us completely. Kids don’t grow out of autism, even those like me who went from a nonverbal, unable, incontinent child to a well-rounded, smart woman who got into university. We are still autistic. Autism will not define me, but it will never ever go away. I can spell, I can write, I can talk, I have friends and I feel so deeply, but I’m autistic. I wish I could get “better” in the way you want me to, but this is for life. I was born autistic and I will die autistic, just don’t let me die lonely and autistic by assuming I will grow out of this lifetime condition. Don’t pity me, but understand me.

Peri Savidge

Being a Nonverbal Child With Autism

I was not fully verbal until I was 10 years old. I said my first word at 6 years old, but stopped saying much else until I was 10. I can still remember my time being nonverbal and preverbal very clearly. I remember the pure frustration and isolation I felt not just around me but within myself as well. I feel like I need to give the people who are still struggling with their voices a voice, and give the public insight as to what they may be going through by sharing my experiences of when I was nonverbal. My brain: “You’re hungry, you need to ask for some food.” Me: … My brain: “Come on, just say ‘Dad, I’m hungry.’ He’s right over there.” Me: … My brain: “Come on, that’s it, walk up to him.” Me: “Aaaaaaruuuaaaa!” Falls in front of dad and begins to scream. My brain: “Oh here we go again, you know what you want, why can’t you just say it?” Me: full blown meltdown “Aaaaaaa! Noooooo! Aaaaaaaaaah!” My brain: “You did this the other day when you were in pain, but couldn’t tell your siblings so you just screamed, cried and were aggressive. Look, he’s asking if you want food, you just need to nod.” Me: “Aaaaaaghhhhaaa! Hmmmmmm!” Loud humming. My brain: “Too far gone, I suppose.” This is how most days went when I needed something like food. I knew exactly what the problem was, but was unable to express my wants, needs or feelings, which resulted in frustration and meltdowns. I remember my younger sister made me play Barbies with her. She was of course making the Barbie speak with mine, but got annoyed because I was not making it talk. She was too young to understand I was not doing this on purpose, and despite not being able to speak, I was making the doll communicate — even if the things I was making it do might seem odd. I would undress the dolls, as my sister would often say it was a hot day in the world of Barbies. I would make the doll jump around happily, or I would move it wildly if it was suppose to be feeling a negative feeling. I would find this activity hard to join in — not only did it involve imaginative play, which I found really hard, but it also involved a lot of interactions using speech. Many kids, including my sister, are brought up to only listen with their ears and to focus on the voice as a means of communication and interaction. I also remember every time my older sister, whom I was very close to, would tell me she loved me. I would just seem oblivious to her and the world around me, until one day when I gained my voice I said “I love you too.” She cried so much — happy tears, I’m sure. In a typical family it may be a simple thing to say “I love you” and to get it back, but when there’s someone with autism in your household, that may change. Sometimes you have to listen to us with more than your ears. I was confused for a long time — why was she so shocked and happy that she cried tears just because I said something I have been showing her all along? Didn’t she notice when she came in the room I would jump about, make happy noises and flap my hands? Did she see the way I always wanted to be held by her and how I would stock her school bag with all my favorite toys and foods? As I have grown I have come to realize she probably knew I loved her back and that actions speak louder than words, but when someone is starved of something like my family was starved of my voice for so long, they dream of it; they need it to confirm things. When I said I loved her I was not just telling her I loved her, I was letting her into my world. I was connecting to her in a way which took everything in me. The words were the part that meant the least; it was about the actions and the wait behind it. Me: “Eh oh, Eh oh, time tubbie byes byes tubbie byes byes eh oh, eh oh.” Imitating Teletubbies. Doctors: “It seems like she can speak fine, and is just being lazy with requests.” Doctors: “What did you do at school today?” My brain: “You did some drawings and some math.Then you played outside and read a story. So come on, tell him.” Me: “Eh oh eh oh, we can fix it,” — a mix of “Teletubbies” and “Bob the Builder.” My brain: “Peri, come on, if you can say that, why can’t you say your own words?” Doctor: “Peri? What did you do at school today? Did you do some drawings? Me: Nods. Doctor: “What did you draw?” Me: … Doctor: “Peri?” Me: Aaaaarghhhhaaaa! My brain: “Oh boy…” I would script a lot, but often people would think just because I could script, I could speak my own words too. But this was wrong, as I was pretty much just being a parrot, repeating the words I had heard in the exact same voice and the exact same way. This is what I call being “pre-verbal.” After a meltdown I would often lay on my sibling’s lap or parents’ while they stroked my hair and talked about how they wished they could see what was going on in that head of mine. Oh how I wanted to tell them. Oh, how badly I wanted to scream from the rooftops who I truly was, because there was so much more than just this silent girl. There was so much more than met the eyes. I had amazing stories to tell — stories that had never been heard before, stories that would change the world. Stories that would likely be trapped in my head forever. If I had the chance to express my feelings to my loved ones back then; if I had a chance to tell them everything I so badly wanted to say, I think it would have gone like this: Please don’t cry. I know you are scared for me. I know you feel my frustration. I know you just want to hear my voice say those four little words — “I love you too.” I know you want me to be like other kids, chatting about our favorite movies and weekend plans. But please don’t cry, because when you cry it makes me feel like I have failed. It makes me feel like I’m failing at the one thing that could finally connect me with you. I sing a million songs and dance to my own melody, but my songs are just too precious and delicate to be heard by the world. They are too sensitive to be heard by ears. But if you just breathe in and dance with me, spin around with me, you can almost hear my song — quieter than silence but even more beautiful. Maybe one day I will be able to make my songs loud enough for the world to hear, but if not that’s OK, because I don’t need to speak to communicate with you. On some days I may act like I have no idea what you’re on about, but I understand every word. I’m just so tired, trying to connect with you — trying so hard with your speech regimes and endless word card games. I’m trying so hard, but I’m tired, so please listen to my songs. Come real close because they are just for you. Talking can be for anybody — anyone can talk to anyone — but you see, these silent songs are just for you, because I love you. The only way I can express my pain is to scream and cry; it’s like my voice is in a prison made of titanium bars. It can’t get out and maybe it never will. Maybe St. Jude has my voice — the patron saint of lost causes, because that’s what the doctors call me, right? I can’t express to you what I’m going through, but please don’t give up on me. Talk to me, play with me, give me patience. Don’t cry, don’t get angry — I’m trying. I know you love me and one day I will speak to you, even if it’s not with my voice. Until then, we will be all right. I did eventually speak and I’m thankful for that, but really I’m more thankful for finding and improving my ways to communicate. Speaking and communication are not the same thing. You can speak without communicating, and you can communicate without speaking. Writing will always be my first way of communicating as I feel like without writing I would not be able to express myself like I’m doing today. Writing is much more than a hobby, interest or love… it’s my voice, my only voice. To me, a voice does not need to make a sound — it just needs to be able to express feelings, and tell a billion stories. That is what my writing does for me and without it I would be lost. Of course my vocal voice is helpful when telling someone I’m hungry or that I hurt, or to fulfill simple requests and demands. But it is not my “voice.” It does not show everyone the real Peri. This journey has helped me to realize that all those years ago I wasn’t striving to speak, I was striving to communicate — to connect with the world. Here I am.