He has autism, which affects how his brain processes stimuli, as well as how he learns. He was also diagnosed with epilepsy when he was four years old.
He recently sat his SATs exams with the rest of the nation and his mum, Gail, shared the following letter from his school, Lansbury Bridge in Merseyside:
Picture: Gail Twist
A very important piece of information I want you to understand is that these tests only measure a little bit of you and your abilities. They are important and you have done so well but Ben Twist is made up of many other skills and talents that we at Lansbury Brdige see and measure in other ways.
Other talents you have that these tests do not measure include:
Your artistic talents
Your ability to work in a team
Your abilities in sport
your ability to discuss and evaluate your own progress
We are so pleased that all of these different talents and abilities make you the special person you are and there are all of the things we measure to reassure us that you are always making progress and continuing to develop as a lovely bright young man.
Well done Ben, we are very proud of you.
indy100 caught up with Gail to ask her a bit more about the letter:
How did you feel when you received the letter?
I thought 'this is incredible', I started to read it – started to blubber - and showed my husband [at which point] we both had tears in our eyes.
Ben is an incredible child – we get that feedback from everyone, he has the power to make people love him, he’s funny, he’s such a dude!
What did Ben say when he saw the letter?
I read it out to Ben and my voice kept breaking.
He said 'Oh wow I can’t believe they’re saying these nice things about me!'
Autism is such a multi-faceted condition; in what ways does it affect your son?
Autism affects his ability to socialise and communicate. He struggles with people he doesn’t know and has sensory needs which makes him seek out stimulus [so he is very active] climbing, playing...
His brain processes slower which means it takes a long time to understand when people are talking to him.
What would you say to parents with autistic children?
It’s important to understand what help is out there to support you.
I spent a long time feeling very alone.
When you reach out and find help you’ve got to push for it.
There’s hope – once you get that support and understand your child and their needs, you can unlock them as a person and unlock their potential.
Keep fighting, it’s worth it to see your child blossom.