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August 2011



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William Kotarski has Aspergers Syndrome and has just achieved a first in a maths masters degree.

Published on Friday 5 August 2011 11:00


OBTAINING a first class masters degree in maths is a huge achievement for anyone.


But the success is particularly sweet for Dunstable graduate William Kotarski, who has Asperger’s Syndrome – and was only diagnosed with the condition two years ago.


Although very bright, the 22-year-old maths whiz, of Sundown Avenue, has always struggled with social pleasantries and communicating with strangers.


And simple things like going to the shop or using public transport requires lots of preparation.


Mum Hilary told the Gazette: “We’ve had to train him to do things. If he wanted to go to the shops we had to walk him through it first.”


And William agreed. He said: “I went to Reading on the train at the weekend and I had to do a trial run with my dad to start with. That sort of thing used to be really hard but I’ve got a bit better at it.”


William – a former Hadrian Lower, Millvale Middle and Northfields Upper pupil – showed signs of Asperger’s from a young age, but it was only when he went to the University of Reading that he was encouraged to see a doctor by a friend who was also on the autistic spectrum.


He said: “I thought that it made sense for me to have Asperger’s but I didn’t want to self-diagnose.


“If you read the list of symptoms of Asperger’s, most teenagers might think ‘oh, that’s me’. But my friend almost physically dragged me to the disability office for an assessment.”


His parents were asked to bring a medical history and meet with staff and just one hour after the assessment, William was told he has Asperger’s.


“We weren’t surprised,” admitted Hilary. “I didn’t want him to have a diagnosis but he did. I didn’t think he should have a label but he’s proud to have it because it makes him the person he is.”


And William can now also call himself master of maths after collecting a first class masters at his graduation recently.


He will head back to Reading in October to start a PHD.


William, who was awarded a prize for his dissertation, said: “I thought I’d try for a 2:1 but in my first year I got firsts for everything so I thought I should aim higher and aim for a first.


“I didn’t like school, it was boring. But university maths was really interesting.”


Hilary said: “We are really proud of him.”




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