October 27, 2020

How does it feel to be excluded?

Sarah Ward

Creative writingFish out of water, 2020

When my son was small, he loved to swim, as long as he could stay underwater as long as possible. His autism diagnosis meant that he found the swimming baths noisy and couldn’t participate in lessons because of the rules around lane-swimming. One of his coping strategies when life was difficult was to seek refuge in stories, especially Greek myths. In this story, I wanted to explore his experience of feeling different. The metamorphosis of the boy was an attempt to defy the rigid rules around ‘how to swim’. I wanted to present his experience in a way that he might appreciate and enjoy, and to reflect on the difficulty of coping in a world that often doesn’t take account of difference.