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Hi, I am Nidhi and I am autistic.

I am 21 years old, born in London and brought up in Dubai, studying Medicine at University College London. I enjoy working out as I believe exercise is so important for my general well-being and mental health. It is my time to think, refresh, and unwind (because asking an autistic person to sit and meditate is almost impossible). I also have a love for music as it provides me with the words I can’t always find to express myself.  


From a young age, I knew that I was different to my peers, having struggled with things most people appeared to find easy. I have some strange behaviours and habits, but also have unique strengths. I have battled with various mental health issues over recent years. However, during the COVID lockdown period, these were heightened. After finally agreeing that I needed help, I decided to take responsibility for my own well-being. Subsequent to meeting various clinicians, I was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. ​


Nothing really changed for me post-diagnosis. There was no significant shift in my world, but I could see how it affected those around me. Confusion as I ‘didn’t look autistic’, whatever autistic looks like! Disbelief as I ‘seemed to be coping with life just fine’, fine by whose standards was an entirely different question. Awkwardness from peers who didn’t know how to respond. Avoidance from those who didn’t know how to approach me. But to be fair, there has also been acceptance from places and people that I was least expecting of. For me, the process of obtaining a diagnosis has been more about being able to start to understand myself as well as helping my family and friends understand me better. The diagnosis has empowered me begin to accept my own traits such that I won’t feel the need to mask them.


After being given my diagnosis, I began researching and reading intensely. I wanted to know anything and everything about ASD: how I was wired, how I differed to my peers, why I struggled in some aspects of life, where I fitted in to society, why it had taken 17 years for a diagnosis and so much more. Whilst completing my research, I found very few sources actually written by autistic individuals. The majority of people writing about ASD and neurodivergence were neurotypical individuals, but how could they truly understand? Thus, I brainstormed ideas, wanting to tackle this issue head-on with three main aims: 

  1. Raise awareness about ASD from my personal perspective 

  2. Highlight the difference between male and female autism​

  3. Provide autistic individuals some guidance and resources

One day, when I was feeling particularly brave, I began writing. I opened up a word document and just began typing. 10,000 characters later and I felt incredibly empowered… and that was the start of Behind the Smiles. ​


So, I hope you enjoy exploring my website as much as I have enjoyed creating it.

Lots of love, Nidhi :)​


P.S. Feel free to contact me on Instagram @nidhisethix or via Email at

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