TikTok star Paige Layle has been using her platform to teach her followers important lessons about autism. For those who don’t know, the 19-year-old Canadian internet star has autism, but like she told Buzzfeed in a recent interview, most people don’t think she does.
“I get a lot, that because I’m good-looking, nothing can be wrong with me — so I want to show that mental illness is diverse,” she explained.
In order to combat these stereotypes, Paige uploaded a four-part series on TikTok where she laid out all the ways autism presents differently in men compared to women. She explained that, usually, women are diagnosed much later on in life because they are better at — what she called — “masking” their traits.
“I decided to start making videos because of an audio that was going all over TikTok that was making fun of autistic people. I hated it. I feel like many people don’t understand how many people are autistic,” she told the publication.
During one video, Paige told viewers that she was diagnosed with autism at 15 years old after she was hospitalized for attempting suicide, and she said, “that’s considered early for a girl.” She also went in depth explaining all the autism traits that present in women, before telling her followers that females with autism often have “other mental disabilities or mental disorders as well.”
“I have seven,” she admitted. “I was an urgent case to talk to a special child psychiatrist who diagnosed me at the time with anxiety, depression, OCD, and autism.”
Paige also got real about how her autism diagnosis has changed her life for the better.
“The diagnosis has changed my life for the better. I can understand myself so much better, which is so beneficial for social situations, school/work life, and most importantly being alone. I can now function alone and understand my emotions better,” she said.
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
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