I can’t deny that my Asperger’s has caused me a lot of stress over the past 21 years but from the moment I was diagnosed, at the age of 10, I have viewed it as something positive.
When I first got told that I had Asperger’s, my dad told me that it was a good thing and that a lot of our family had autistic traits. He also told me that it gave us special powers eg. thinking differently. I believe that my Asperger’s will be responsible for me having a successful career in TV due to the following:
My ambition is to be a TV presenter in children’s television or sport and I have a persistent and a never give up attitude. My dad once told me that he believed I would achieve my ambition provided that I never give up. I replied “Why would I give up when I know I am going to make it.” Persistence comes naturally to me and is just one trait of my Asperger’s.
I am very single minded and if I don’t like something then I won’t do it. While a lot of people end up in jobs that they don’t enjoy, I would rather do nothing than spend day after day in a job that did not make me happy. I am determined to succeed pursuing my passion and will persist until I do.
I am very focussed and if I enjoy a certain topic then I want to know everything about it. One of my hobbies is football and I am trying to visit all 92 Football League grounds for a match. I have not just learnt every ground name and capacity of the 92 but also that of the clubs’ old grounds. My obsessive nature leads me to exploring my hobbies in more depth than neurotypicals and is the reason why I have created quirky videos such as “Around the Grounds” and “Football Shirt Stories” on my YouTube channel. I have now started to create my own children’s show on football called “Around the 92”.
When I am being interviewed on the TV or the Radio I never feel nervous. Most people would find being interviewed very difficult and my Grandma said that she would not be able to eat for a week if she knew she was going on the radio. I on the other hand could stand up and talk in front of 100 people without any worries.
Thinking like a child
Another trait that I feel comes from my autism is the empathy I feel for children. I think more like a child than I do an adult and I think this explains why I have a love for children’s TV. Most 21 year olds wouldn’t choose to watch Cbeebies but I really enjoy it and feel that when I am watching shows such as the Tweenies or In the Night Garden, it is a form of escapism. I like these kinds of programmes because the vocabulary is simple, easy to understand, unlike adult language which is full of hidden meanings eg. idioms, sarcasm etc.
Having Asperger’s has made me who I am today. A lot of the interviews that I have had and articles that I have written have all been about my Asperger’s, particularly what it is like living with it. Without Asperger’s I would not have had nearly as much exposure to the TV world or gained nearly as many contacts. So, having Asperger’s has helped me to grow my media network and may just be the catalyst that enables me to break into television.
To find out more about Alex and his work visit www.thealexmanners.com or take a look at his You Tube channel at thealexmanners. Alex’s ‘One minute guide to Asperger’s’ is also available on You Tube.