A letter to my younger peers

Stephen McHugh
This post was last updated on
March 18, 2023
Category :

Dear My Younger Peers

I’m writing to explain to you the behaviours you may have noticed in Young Stephen.  You will have seen that he behaves somewhat differently to you, certainly in terms of the way he relates to others. It is due to a medical condition of which very little is still known. His brain is likely ‘wired’ differently to yours, which causes him to process information and the world using somewhat different mechanisms to you. 

Those who have the same medical condition as him may be exceptionally gifted at, and have exceptional abilities in certain things that you may find very hard to do. In his case here, you may well have noticed that he is good at music, especially piano playing, and has a fantastic ability at mental arithmetic, such as doing large multiplication sums without a calculator.  He knows certain obscure facts, including the number of seconds in a year. 

The medical condition in question accounts for why he behaves and interacts with others and the world in general in different ways. Difficulties with reading and understanding voice tones and various forms of body language may account for why he finds it difficult to fit in during social situations. He may be alone more often than not, with few, in any people to have around with.  

He also may accidently do things that you might think are rude or offensive in some ways. An example here is not paying attention to somebody talking to him. It may be that he is feeling overwhelmed by noises and activities of others, experiencing information overload, and trying to process it all in his own ways. 

Another behavioural trait of his can be to ask questions to which he could probably work out solutions to for himself. This may be due to the fact that he likes to look at things from different angles. In addition he could feel insecure, or not confident enough in his knowledge, and just want confirmation and reassurance. He might also be  worried that things might not be the same next time.

Other things you might notice are times when he is sometimes in his own world and not paying attention during class sessions. In addition he may behave in unusual ways too, which can make him vulnerable to bullying behaviours, especially where signs are very subtle. He will need help in identifying these, along with standing up for himself. 

He has language and speech development delays and will therefore process language in ways that are different to you. This may explain why he has difficulties in understanding more complicated forms of language and what he is being asked to do. Even when he does eventually understand something, it will have likely taken him longer to do so. 

His language deficiencies may also account for why he’s better at Maths than in other subjects such as English, History and Geography. In subjects such as these, there is more emphasis on having to understand more in the way of written material than in Maths, where there is obviously more emphasis on numbers and logic. 

His good memory and ability with logic helps him to be good at French, as learning foreign languages can rely on learning words and their translations, along with spotting patterns in grammatical rules. 

Despite the difficulty he has, he has improved, overcome numerous obstacles, and will continue to make good personal progress. In him, you’ll find him to be a pleasant and friendly boy, who could do well in certain situations, including social ones if given appropriate guidance.   

And if, on any occasion, he’s unsuccessful at something, it won’t be due to naughtiness, laziness, lack of motivation or ability. 

Yours sincerely

Older Stephen


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