Following our article about the success of young people from Youth Moves at the recent Bristol Young Heroes awards, we wanted to take a deeper dive with some of the winners. Now it's the turn of Summer.

Summer is an apprentice with Youth Moves, and she won the Learning Hero Award, and we sat down and had a chat. 

What was it like when you went up to collect the award? 

I was crying. I cried when all the girls won. I cried when Macy won. I was bawling when James spoke about my little brother, and I just started crying even more.

And then I come in here and I was like, my mascara all over my face and it shows like a bag of tears, just like looking like that!

Had you won anything before that?

No. This was the first time I have ever won anything.

In a quote in the article we wrote for the website on the awards you said ‘this award was for people with learning difficulties who think they can’t achieve anything to show they can’ – what did you mean by that?

So I have learned difficulties, I’m dyslexic and I have ADHD so it's just hard for me to like focus and kind of concentrate on things. Doing it through college with my apprenticeship here has been a massive struggle. 

Cause I knew there was gonna be writing and all this and all that. Cause I just can't focus in the office, so I do my course work somewhere quiet. Like I'm quite a big talker. I find it easy to distract myself, no matter what we're talking about.

Summer with youth worker James at the Bristol Young Heroes Awards after she won the Learning Hero Award 

So when you won the award you were thinking about others not just yourself, why? 

Because of my experience. During my coursework through childcare, I've realized that they don't really talk about it much. You know dyslexia, ADHD, dyspraxia, everything like that.

And when people have it, often no one believes them. So, I guess I was just showing them that even if you on that kind of spectrum like me and do have dyslexia and things that don’t let it hold you back, you can still do anything else that every everyone else does. 

How did it affect you at school?

I wasn't good in school. 

I was in isolation a lot. I was supposed to go to LAMP, which is where you get like excluded, but you still must do schoolwork. Yes, I was in isolation and constantly getting kicked out of lessons. I had like a timeout card and everything like that. 

Did you have your diagnosis by then?

Yeah. I had my diagnosis in primary school. So, they would've known, it was on all of my record, but they get things mixed up, and often think it’s bad behaviour, rather than something you have.

So you want to raise awareness and help people like yourself?

I don’t know, I guess, to kind of raise awareness for stuff like that. And that even with a diagnosis, it doesn't matter what you have been told by doctors and what schools say. You can achieve, you can still do it. . Like if you let it hold you back, it's going to hold you back. But if you work with it and work alongside it, you'll fly.

Do you think there enough information and understanding about neuro diversity out there? 

Not really. Because none of my teachers really knew what Dyspraxia was, or what Dyscalculus was, like they knew about dyslexia. Yeah. Because that's just words. But then there's many other things that come under that know this.

It’s like dyslexia, but with maths. So, like my maths, I failed maths. I've still failed the GCSE Like I don't have my GCSE maths now. So, it's kind of numbers as much as letters.

Numbers are so much worse for me than letters are. Like the numbers literally like move places across the page.

Summer (centre right) with the full team of winners and staff from Youth Moves

Do you think the education system. Is equipped to deal with people with, um, guess Nora diversity?  

No. No, no not at all. 

It’s geared a bit towards certain type of young person. I excelled in practical things like woodwork and everything like that. English, math, science, boom, straight down. Yeah. Like I got my GSCs in them, but it was hard for me. 

What's the plan for you?

The future for me, I want to get my qualifications in youth work, and then I want to do something alongside with disabled work. So working with young people with disabilities.

But like, it wouldn't just be like physical disabilities. I'd want work more with like the mental health side, the neurological side. And do everything like that and be kind of person that is there for them, to be just nice because not everyone's nice to them. 

So, do you instinctively notice young people that might be feeling over whelmed or on the margins a bit? 

A hundred percent. You can pick it up, more than others.

One example was we did like a massive game’s thing here last year during summer camp. And there was this one young person who was really struggling to get on with it as parts of it was about reading. I had a feeling this was the case, so I spoke to his guardian after, and he's dyslexic. And it wasn't on any records. It wasn't on anything. So, it’s important to pick these things up.

And another young person in juniors has ADHD. He comes down to sports, all bouncing off the walls instantly because he is new surroundings, with new equipment, like everything's just new. So, he goes bouncing off walls and then he comes into this, come down space about 10 minutes later. 

He can be a bit is aggressive, swearing and everything. And by that time, if you don't catch it fast enough, he will just kick off. Like full blown Yeah. So, I will take him to one side. It’s because he is overstimulated by all the new stuff that it's got to him. He’s overwhelmed and can’t cope. I understand this.

So, you almost always need to catch it early. See the warning signs. And I think I am good at that and want to work with more people like this.