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 Alex Goodenough
Alex Goodenough talks about his autistic spectrum disorder, Asperger’s. Photograph: Fiona Mersh

Decca Aitkenhead

The Guardian  

Alex Goodenough was the cleverest kid in his school – so why didn’t he get a sixth form place? Decca Aitkenhead talks to his family about the impact of Asperger’s

When Alex Goodenough was 13, his English teacher asked his class to write the first chapter of a novel. Alex began writing his, and after chapter one he thought he might as well carry on. He kept writing and writing – about space-faring aliens killing each other – and when the day came to submit his work, he handed in 97,000 words. An entire novel.

“I noticed it was bigger than anyone else’s,” he says today. He thought the teacher would like it. “I judge books by how many aliens get shot – and everyone died in the end.” Instead, he got “a thinly veiled comment about how important it is to wrap things up nicely – to write only what you can write in the duration of a Sats exam.”

Alex had always been out of sync. At six months he was talking; by 14 months he was constructing full sentences. He began studying German at 13, sat his GCSE at 14 and got an A; by 15 he had four more GCSEs – he and his mother were already planning his Cambridge application. But at 16 his local school flatly refused to give him a place in the sixth form. Alex ended up teaching himself from textbooks at home, isolated, nocturnal, seldom leaving the house. “It was just the word ‘Asperger’s’,” his mother Jan says. “Once they heard ‘Asperger’s’, they didn’t want to know.”

To read more …
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/jul/04/autism-asperger-s-education-society 



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