London Trip

London Trip

London Trip

London is magical. Life is about balancing the old and the new and striking the happy medium there. It seems to be the way of life there. The history seems to be getting more and more into perspective as new people come in to share their versions of the history and be part of the future. It was interesting for me to be observing how different people were talking about things they were seeing. 


I had interesting sensory experiences while out there. The stairs in some of the historical landmarks that we went to were narrow and winding. It was both nerve wracking and exhilarating. I had to overcome my general anxiety around stairs now being multiplied by the new sensory environment. The cobbled stone streets were pretty but made for a bit of the rollercoaster on my wheelchair.


We had some spectacular sights including the Dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Big Ben and the Parliament, the sunset from London Eye, the ferry ride to Tower Bridge taking in the best of River Thames including the bridges and their journeys, the exceptionally informative Natural History Museum. We experienced diverse food and all different modes of transportation. We witnessed the opulence of palaces and the drastic drop in living conditions as we went to a suburb to meet a friend that had to fight against odds to make a life as a former refugee. We even managed to meet some nonspeakers/parents and do some advocacy. And meet friends, now allies too, that we had not met for many years.


We struggled a bit with access to clean bathrooms that we take for granted in restaurants and stores in the US. Also with overcrowded restaurants that were struggling to meet customer demands. Almost all the restaurants we went to were too loud. My personal life must have been new to those that we met and yet I was welcomed warmly mostly. There were a handful of rude moments when it was politely suggested we leave.


My goal for the trip was mostly to make it through the awards night given that I was not in my best health. But I am glad we explored the country a bit more. My life is a lot richer because of these experiences.

Swarit Gopalan

About the Author

I am an 11-yr old autistic, nonspeaker that uses letterboard to spell/keyboard to type to communicate.I live with my family in Florida and go to Invictus Academy for school. 
I find a lot of solace in expressing myself through poetry. Music and nature also help me stay in the present, there is nothing better for me than to have my movement create a symphony with nature and to truly enjoy the sights and sounds. Living in harmony with nature is my life’s mission.
Right from the time of diagnosis, we are only told about all things we cannot or will not be able to do. Along with the check that is written to the doctor for the diagnosis, it often feels like our agency is written off too, especially without a reliable communication mechanism.  
Time to change the paradigm with more non speaker voices. It has always been a dream to share my thoughts and perspectives with the world so that I can be one of the catalysts to creating a better understanding of non speakers in general. 
My hope is that my words will help change the world from sympathy and pity for those like me to one of deeper understanding of our lives and allyship to ensure our rights.

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