My Experience with Autism: Nijaya Senarath-Dassanayak

30 Mar My Experience with Autism: Nijaya Senarath-Dassanayak

This year, Neurodiversity Week 2022 took place from Monday 21 March 2022 to Sunday 27 March. To celebrate, I would like to share my personal experiences of autism with you. 

My name is Nijaya Senarath-Dassanayake and I am 19 years old. I was diagnosed with autism when I was 3 years old. I have faced many challenges due to my autism, including having a low tolerance for loud sounds, sensory issues, and difficulties with social engagement. However, over the years, I have improved quite a lot physically, mentally, and emotionally. 

Learning from home during lockdowns has been a challenge for me. The changes to my normal school schedule and routine are quite difficult for me to cope with because I can’t see my teachers, classmates and peers in person, as well as participating in extracurricular activities and sports that I love and enjoy doing for fun at Pakuranga College. Additionally, sports and extra-curricular activities are vital for developing students’ social skills, independence, responsibility and resilience.

On the other hand, to be honest, I find completing tasks much easier and quicker than working at school. Working from home has taught me to be more independent, self-organised, mature and responsible at my own pace rather than being pressured or forced to complete a task closer to a particular deadline. I also feel quite bored working from home because I can’t do all the activities that I enjoy and love to do due to the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic and outbreak.

In my opinion, this experience has certainly taught me to not take things for granted. I practice gratitude and am grateful for what I actually have in life. In addition, it has made me a much better person mentally, spiritually, and emotionally by showing independent learning and self-management at home. 

Lastly, I genuinely miss the support of the wonderful students and staff at Pakuranga College when I am working from home. They have always been so supportive, welcoming and understanding about me. This helped not only make me grow as a student, but also as a person. I really enjoy the strong connections that I have between staff and my classmates and peers at school.

Pros and cons of autism

  1. Autistic people can be very smart and intelligent people.
  2. They are very unique people in a different way.
  3. Autistic people tend to think differently compared to ordinary people.
  4. They are capable of having a great memory.
  5. They are usually better people due to their differences and the challenges they face.
  6. They show resilience during tough times.



  1. People with autism are often overlooked in society.
  2. Prone to bullying at school.
  3. Being treated differently by society.
  4. Occasionally, odd or strange behaviour and demeanours can be a part of autism.
  5. Autistic people are likely to face more challenges than people who don’t have autism.
  6. People with autism tend to be more trusting and naive than non-autistic people.
  7. Autistic people generally take longer to mature and become independent compared to non-autistic people due to the minor changes in their brains.
  8. Forming relationships and close friendships with other people can be difficult for people with autism due to difficulties with social interaction and engagement.


The challenges that I face due to autism:

  1. Due to my autism, I find it difficult to concentrate in noisy environments and when there are many people around.
  2. I require learning support and teacher aides to help me complete tasks better.
  3. I struggle to understand some of the social cues and behaviors that are acceptable.
  4. I find it easier to talk in person rather than over the phone.
  5. I need repetition to help me understand difficult concepts and questions.
  6. Tolerating loud noises and crowds of people in a small area.
  7. Sensory issues.
  8. Difficulties with social interaction and engagement with others.


Benefits and advantages of learning from home:

  1. Learning from home gives you the ability to complete your assignments and tasks at any time during the day or night.
  2. Self-management and completing my schoolwork without any prompts.
  3. Being able to work independently and work at home like a typical adult.
  4. It’s much easier to concentrate and focus at home rather than in a classroom because you are working mostly by yourself and occasionally with your parents.
  5. You are very unlikely to procrastinate if you are self-organised and self-motivated.
  6. Zoom meetings or Google Meets are helpful for connecting with your teachers, classmates and peers for online learning.
  7. Online learning is quite different from physical learning at school.
  8. Online learning gives you the opportunity to connect with people in a unique way compared to offline learning.
  9. Online learning can be much easier for students who have good home lives, proper discipline and loving families.
  10. Private online meetings for learning are easier to focus on than having multiple students at the same time.
  11. Learning from home is a wonderful way to absorb important information from the internet in different subjects.
  12. You can even write your own newspaper articles, read books, write book reviews, draw your own painting and art pictures on Microsoft Paint and other hobbies that you genuinely enjoy. You can do this whilst working from home to keep yourself entertained and prevent further boredom. 


Drawbacks and disadvantages of learning from home:

  1. Not being able to see your teachers and classmates in person.
  2. Unable to do many extracurricular activities and sports that you would typically do in person.
  3. Students may experience boredom working from home as well as being unable to participate in sports and extracurricular activities at school physically and in person.
  4. Online learning can be difficult for students who have dysfunctional backgrounds or poor home lives.
  5. Online learning is hard for those who don’t have access to the internet at home or lack adequate discipline.


Nijaya Senarath-Dassanayake – Year 13

If you can't find what you are looking for on this website, or if you want to contact us directly for a specific reason, please feel free to use this 'Parent Help Desk' form to contact us. The appropriate person will respond to your enquiry within 24 hours from Monday to Friday.
Parent Help Desk
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.