Kirstie Greer has been bounced from school to school by local education bosses who couldn't cope with her condition, and who eventually told her she's not allowed in any school in this area.
The 15 year old has even been branded 'aggressive and violent' by those same bosses because she doesn't react well to people touching her or encroaching on her personal space – something that's common for people on the autism spectrum.
Now studying for six GCSEs with just a few hours of home tutoring a week, Kirstie's heartfelt plea is, "I just want to be at school. I don't want to be different – I just want to be like everyone else.
"I'm smart, I'm able and I'm not stupid, even though with everything that's happened I sometimes feel as if I am."
Speaking to the Spectator this week, Kirstie's mum Nuala explained that the brave 15 year old has been bullied at both primary and secondary school because of her condition, but the South Eastern Education and Library Board (SEELB) hasn't been able to help.
"Kirstie was moved from school to school and was even offered a place in a learning support unit where the doors were locked and the desks were screwed to the floor. We felt we couldn't send her there," said Nuala.
"Eventually the SEELB told us there was no suitable placement available, which effectively left her excluded from education. It seems there's no school that can cater for her at her academic level and at the same time understand her condition.
"The SEELB has labelled her aggressive and violent because of the way she has reacted to bullying or to people touching her, but what she needs is concern, understanding and awareness."
After being thrown out of the education system, the Greer family turned to the Belfast-based Special Educational Needs Advice Centre for help. They were able to secure home tutoring for Kirstie – but to their shock they learned the Bangor teenager is far from the only person to go through the same trauma.
"The centre became the advocate for our daughter and secured a package that put her back on the register of a North Down school," explained Nuala.
"That allows her to receive eight hours of home tutoring a week and to attend a local college one day a week, all supported by the school. With that support she is now receiving she is working towards six GCSEs.
"We thought Kirstie was an isolated case, but through our experience we have discovered other families in the same position. The education system simply doesn't cater for them."
The Bangor charity Positive Futures has backed Kirstie's struggle for schooling. Their chief executive Agnes Lunny stated that while society as a whole still hasn't fully accepted the needs of people on the autism spectrum, it's still a surprise to see this level of 'exclusion and isolation' from an education board.
She said, "Sadly there's a huge lack of awareness among professionals in many areas of society about the effects of autism, but I hoped we could have expected better from the education system.
"All that's needed is inclusion and understanding. What we have in this case is exclusion and isolation for both Kirstie and her mum."
Nuala added, "Positive Futures have made real inroads, but that's because they treat Kirstie as a real person and not just a tick ion a box. They understand her."
Meanwhile Kirstie's become a campaigner for the rights of children, determined to not only score a victory in her own case but also ensure that no other vulnerable kids have to go through the same problems she's endured.
"I just want to be at school," she said. "I don't want to be different, I just want to be like everyone else. Being stuck at home I'm so fed up some days that I don't want to be bothered getting up for my tutors coming,
"I'm smart, I'm able and I'm not stupid even though with everything that's happened I sometimes feel as if I am.
"I've joined the Children's Commissioner's Youth Panel, NICCY and I'm part of the group that's campaigning for children's rights. We're working on trying to change the age discrimination law to include under 18s and that will help kids like me to get better education and better access to services."
The Spectator contacted the SEELB offering them the chance to provide an explanation for Kirstie's situation. A spokeswoman replied that it's their policy not to comment on individual cases.