Writing for Pleasure: A Powerful Tool for Improving Engagement and Writing Confidence

Home > Writing for Pleasure: A Powerful Tool for Improving Engagement and Writing Confidence

Young and Ferguson (2021) in Writing for Pleasure: theory, research and practice, report that ‘authentic and purposeful writing projects have the power to secure young writers’ engagement and significantly contribute to positive academic achievements’.   


As Head of English in a boys’ school, I found that building writing for real purposes into our curriculum encouraged our students to turn their imagination and creativity into confidence in their writing ability, particularly when the outcome was the opportunity to see their work in print.  Young Writers is an organisation which runs national writing competitions for schools throughout the year, offering meaningful themes, supporting resources and exciting prizes to engage and inspire our children and young people to write. 


This year, one winner used the opportunity to share her experiences of ASD in The Power of Poetry competition.  We are sure you will agree that this powerful poem is a worthy winner which should be shared in our schools to help everyone understand what it is like to be a person with autism.  


ASD In Me 

By Ava Gallagher (12) from Birchwood Community High School, Cheshire 

Take a seat and sit with me
I want to talk about ASD
If you don’t mind I’d like to explain
A little thing called autism and how it affects my brain
It can make me anxious, angry and afraid
But this stays in my head, on my face it’s not displayed
I may seem heartless and question your meanings
But it takes me a little longer to process the feelings
Take a seat and sit with me
I want to show you ASD
A girl sitting quietly is all you see
But inside my mind I am far from free
My thoughts collide, my senses take over
I become overwhelmed by the smallest sound
Clicking pens, ticking clocks
That boy’s chair and the way it rocks
All different smells attacking me
The perfumes, the coffee, the teacher’s tea
Take a seat and sit with me
But not too close, I have ASD
I try to be social, I try to fit in
I come across rude, I can never win
I am very literal and straight to the point
If you want the truth I won’t disappoint
When my brain is overloaded I sometimes lash out
My control fades, I scream and shout
I get confused and it all spills out
Intense emotions all trapped inside
Finally have nowhere to hide
Take a seat and sit with me
I want to tell you about ASD
Please understand I am not to blame
I’ve just got an atypical brain
But it’s not all doom and gloom
I’m often the sportiest girl in the room
I’m quirky, unique, kind and caring
I’m loyal, protective and always sharing
I’m obsessed with frogs and all things green
I’m the youngest trendsetter you’ve ever seen
Take a seat and sit with me
I am Ava, I am me
I’m not just my label of ASD. 



Lee Boyce 

Principal Adviser for Education and Inclusion 

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