Chloé Hayden’s social media following is all about getting people to understand: it’s about identity, not illness. Article by Matilda Boseley
At 22, Chloé Hayden is outgoing and creative and, with a growing online audience that numbers in the hundreds of thousands, she is unquestionably popular.
But it took her a while to get there. Growing up near Geelong, in the Australian state of Victoria, by 13 she had been to 10 schools, had zero friends, and severe depression and anxiety as a result of bullying.
Her psychologist told her parents that home schooling was the best way they could keep her safe.
Other kids never liked her, but no one could figure out why.
“It’s like everyone else has been given a handbook from the day they are born about how to communicate and I wasn’t there for the orientation apparently … I had a sleepover birthday party and bought French braiding stuff to make friendship bracelets. The next day at school they all threw them in the bin,” she says.
Even though it was tough for Hayden to socialise, no one really considered she might be autistic. She was emotional, caring, terrible at maths and, perhaps most importantly, a girl.
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