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First Published Thursday, 25th September, 2008.

Lizzie Clark

Lizzie Clark from Shrewsbury


Breakthrough for actress with Asperger syndrome


A teenager from Shrewsbury has been chosen to play a girl with Asperger syndrome in a new BBC drama. It’s even more remarkable as 14-year-old Lizzie Clark also has the condition.


Fourteen-year-old Lizzie Clark from Shrewsbury is celebrating winning her first professional acting role. She has been cast in the role of Poppy, a teenager with Asperger syndrome, in a BBC TV adaptation of Jaqueline Wilson’s book Dustbin Baby.


“They see me as someone who’s a bit strange and not very easy to get on with, although I do have lots of friends who love me.”

Lizzie Clark on Asperger syndrome

Lizzie also suffers from Asperger syndrome, offering her a unique take on her new role.


The syndrome is a rare and relatively mild form of autism. Lizzie says that because it’s subtle, people don’t see her as autistic: “They see me as someone who’s a bit strange and not very easy to get on with, although I do have lots of friends who love me and support me.”

In Dustbin Baby, the local teenager will appear alongside household names like Juliet Stevenson. Jaqueline Wilson, president of the Shrewsbury Bookfest, is one of the UK’s most popular children’s authors and Lizzie is a big fan.

“This will send a message that… they can lead full lives and go on to do bigger and better things if they’re given the chance. “

Nicky Clark, Lizzie’s mother

It was Lizzie’s mother, Nicky, who saw an advert for the role on an autism website: “I think it’s incredibly positive that the BBC chose to find an actress who has the same condition as the character.”

People with Asperger syndrome often have social difficulties and can develop an obsessive interest in hobbies. With support and encouragement they can lead independent lives.


Nicky Clark says getting the role has been a huge boost to Lizzie’s self-esteem. She says it’s an opportunity for all people with autism: “This will send a message that… they can lead full lives and go on to do bigger and better things if they’re given the chance.”


Source:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/shropshire/content/articles/2008/09/16/aspergers_actress_feature.shtml



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