Expressions of autism through creative writing

Person holding a pen and writing in a book

The Northern Health and Social Care Trust has worked in partnership with Ulster University, Coleraine, to host a creative writing course for autistic adults ahead of World Autism Acceptance Week.

Themed around ‘What autism means to me’, the group composed a range of different pieces, drawing on their thoughts, life experiences, emotions and feelings.

Reflecting on its success, the Northern Trust’s Public Health Autism Coordinator Jayne Colville, said: “The course offered individuals a creative outlet to tell their stories, and showcase their talent.

“They developed material together, and on their own, and it was thoroughly enjoyed by all involved.

“So much fabulous, insightful material was written during the six weeks, like the examples we have included below, that we’re now looking in to getting them published as a collective piece of creative writing.

“This will allow the group to further tell their story, with the aim of creating more understanding amongst the general public.”


Mask by Elvin

Trapped by the constant need to change

It’s not a mask it’s an accommodation

To the “other”, to facilitate communication

An Act in two parts to make the story flow

To engage or sometimes to prevent engagement with

The creature in below


The following is an excerpt from a piece written by Sarah, thinking back to a primary school disco.

Nerves knot my stomach, but the pulsing lights and thumping music wash over me like a

tidal wave, drawing me into their current. This space, it exists between worlds, a rebellion

against the humdrum. “Can’t we just have kaleidoscopic lights, art, music and glitter balls

everywhere?” I think.

Racing to the dancefloor I weighed the expectations against my own desires. My classmates

hadn’t arrived yet, so tentatively, I began to spin and sway.

My body unburdens of its anxieties, and remembers its native language, a language of

uninhibited expression, and it speaks in fluid gestures against the swirling canvas of light.

In this moment, I am not defined by labels or limitations, but by the boundless energy that

courses through my veins. I dance, and it is freedom. The swirling disco ball lights, the neon

flashes and the bass drum thumping at my heart. It is a sensory heaven.




4th April 2024

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