Alex Lowery speaks about autism

Have you ever believed a dream was real?

Written on 23rd Aug 2018 by Alex Lowery

Hello everyone. Today’s article is about something that all of us do and that’s “dream”. I’m going to be writing about my experiences of dreaming as a person on the autistic spectrum and how I used to think they were real.

As a young child, I had a very hard time distinguishing between what was a dream and what was real. In fact: I tended to think that my dreams were real. I had many nightmares. I used to dream that the big bad wolf would be lying right next to me in bed. This made me terrified and I thought it was real.

My autobiography goes into more detail about my childhood nightmares but what my book doesn’t bring up is the dreams I had that weren’t so scary. These are dreams that I was convinced really happened and I only know they didn’t now because they’re impossible. For example – I remember my older siblings and I flying kites up in the air, except that instead of just the kite going in the sky: we went on the sky with the kites.

I remember years later that my mum or dad said we’d buy a kite and I was convinced that we’d be flying in the sky with the kite but this wasn’t the case. We just let the kite fly into the air. I remember asking about the kind of kites that you could fly in the air with. I was told that those type didn’t exist. But I didn’t buy it. I distinctly remember flying in the sky with a kite. I remember thinking, “I know we flew with one and I one day I will find this type of kite we can fly with!” Eventually I did come to a realisation that the type of kite I was looking for didn’t exist and I realised it must have been a dream. It’s the only explanation.

There are also other far fetched memories I have. I remember us being in a car that flew and I also remember some of my family falling out of a airplane. There used to be an huge airplane model at Deeside College and I believe I thought that was the airplane we fell out of. But all of these things must have been dreams. It’s the only thing that makes sense.

I feel like all of this shows that young autistic children may well struggle between what is a dream and what is reality. I do know that I tended to believe anything I saw as a child. I didn’t believe the world was round because I couldn’t see it being round but I did believe in Santa because I was convinced the man dressed up was really Santa and I believe these ‘human flying kites’ existed because I had a distinct memory of flying on them as a child.

Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed this article.

One thought on “Have you ever believed a dream was real?

  1. Steph says:

    That’s a really interesting piece Alex. I work with a young autistic boy , he has always had very intense dreams. He would do a lot of shouting and talking through his dreams and as you said would wake and some times find it really hard to distinguish between reality and a dream. So much so that at one point he was so obsessed with vampires that he worried if a vampire came into a dream it would kill him and he had to sleep with garlic round his neck and in his room! He is nearly 11 now and although at times his dreams can still be very intense he can distinguish between a dream and reality .

    Keep up the great articals,


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Organisations Alex has worked with

  • Autism Cymru
  • Chester University
  • Glyndwr University
  • National Autistic Society
  • St John's Ambulance
  • Welsh Government

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