"I always knew I was different, but I never knew what it was." - Autistic teen on life after diagnosis.
A LEEDS schoolboy diagnosed with autism is seeking to raise awareness of the condition and cash for the UK's leading autism support charity.
Garforth Academy student Jake Gill, 14, of Whinmoor, organised a coffee morning and tombola at Chapel FM in Seacroft yesterday morning which raised more than £200 for the National Autistic Society.
Jake, who was diagnosed with autism aged 12, said: "I thought it would be really good because a lot of people don't understand it.
"They kind of know what autism is but they don't understand a lot about it. The National Autistic Society help people to understand it more."
Jake, who enjoys learning languages in his spare time, said: "I always knew I was different, but I never knew what it was.
" I didn't see it (being diagnosed) as a bad thing. I always thought it's better to get diagnosed with autism so when I go to high school the teachers will be able to understand me more."
Jake's dad Matthew Gill said a teacher suggested Jake should be tested for autism when he was was a nine-year-old pupil at Whinmoor St Paul's C of E Primary School.
Mr Gill, who works as a printer at Communisis in Leeds, said it was a lengthy process and Jake was diagnosed by the Community and Mental Health Service in Leeds when he was 12.
Mr Gill, said: "It really didn't change anything. It had its benefits in that once there was a diagnosis his school reacted in a positive way.
"The help that he gets from the teachers at Garforth Academy is really good."
Mr Gill said Jake is teaching himself French, Spanish and Japanese,adding: "When he does something he does it really intensely.
"When he is learning something like languages he will just knuckle down and learn as much as he can."
Mr Gill said he wasn't surprised when Jake said he wanted to stage a fundraising coffee morning in aid for the national Autistic Society.
Mr Gill said: "He is kind-hearted lad. He is really generous and likes helping people when he can."
The National Autistic Society website states: "Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others.
"Autistic people see, hear and feel the world differently to other people. If you are autistic, you are autistic for life; autism is not an illness or disease and cannot be 'cured'. Often people feel being autistic is a fundamental aspect of their identity.
"Autism is a spectrum condition. All autistic people share certain difficulties, but being autistic will affect them in different ways.
"Some autistic people also have learning disabilities, mental health issues or other conditions, meaning people need different levels of support. All people on the autism spectrum learn and develop. With the right sort of support, all can be helped to live a more fulfilling life of their own choosing."
For more information, go to www.autism.org.uk