A SOLIHULL autism campaigner spoke at a national special needs conference in London about his life with Asperger’s.
Alex Manners, aged 21, has been campaigning to raise awareness of complex and little-understood conditions.
The Autism Show is an annual event, offering information, help and advice about the disorder.
At the showcase he gave a talk about how he views his Asperger’s – a type of autism – as a positive characteristic and how he faced many ‘challenges’ when he was at school.
Alex explained how he feels lucky to have Asperger’s as gives him ‘special powers’ and makes him the person he is today.
He also shared his experiences with stress and sensory overloads and offered advice on managing the effects of the condition.
During his speech he said: “The point I want to get across today is that people with Asperger’s are all different.
“That’s why it’s described as being on a spectrum.
“I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse into my world and that you now can understand people like myself better.”
He was interviewed at the event by Channel 4 for the programme ‘Am I Normal’ in which he launched his idea for his own children’s book – ‘Rainbow Man’.
In the interview he explains he was often called rainbow man when he was at school as he wore colourful suits and trousers.
He reads his Rainbow Man story on his Solihull Radio children’s show on Sundays between 8am and 10am.
Talking about the show he said: “I have created my own ‘Rainbow Man’ educational children’s stories aimed at under 6’s and promote values of empathy, self-esteem and creativity.
“In each story Rainbow Man and his friends Giddy Gordon and Grumpy Doug visit local attractions.
“I launched a new Asperger’s character to my ‘Rainbow Man’ stories called ‘Awesome Alex’.
“The character is based upon myself and my experiences of living with Asperger’s.
“The character shows how people with Asperger’s function in different environments and will hopefully help raise awareness and understanding.”
Alex has written about Asperger’s for different publications and has also been active in raising awareness through the media.
He also launched an Autism and Football campaign which aims to combat difficulties faced by those with autism in football stadiums – like sensory overloads.
He films Solihull Moors FC matches for BT Sport and has set himself the target of watching a match at all 92 English Football League grounds.