Paul was branded as a “naughty & difficult child” at school. He was classically autistic and non-verbal due to speech articulation difficulties. He had complex sensory issues and appeared both deaf and blind. He gained functional speech around the age of 7 or 8 years old. He went through the mainstream school system with no additional help or recognition of his autism. Consequently, he did not achieve his academic or his social potential and had very low self-esteem.
At age 11, Paul was referred to the children’s mental health service with childhood depression where he was regarded as “developmentally underage” and having speech problems.
As an adult, Paul had a string of unsuccessful jobs, and his mental health suffered. He developed both Borderline and Schizotypal Personality Disorders in early 2007. He was referred to mental health services and misdiagnosed with “Asperger traits with a complex personality”, which did not satisfy Paul or his family. Autism Oxford put Paul in touch with an experienced psychiatrist, who diagnosed him with Autism at 24 years old.
In 2012 Paul was also diagnosed with Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome by an Irlen Consultant who confirmed that he also had face, object and meaning blindness – conditions which Paul describes eloquently in his speeches and at Autism Oxford training sessions. He also has dyslexia, dyscalculia and also dissociative disorder.
Having started working as an Autism Oxford speaker in 2010, Paul joined our mission to promote autism awareness. His hope is that others will not have to suffer as he did. Now also a core member of our Training Team, Paul continues to enhance true understanding of autism at every opportunity.
Paul’s first book, his Autobiography “Living through the Haze: Life on the Autistic Spectrum” documents his life from non-verbal child to public speaker in adult life, and was published by Chipmunka publishing in 2012.
Having overcome many challenges to achieve the success that he now enjoys, Paul’s message is that Autism is a complex mix of ability and disability. He firmly believes that every Autistic person should have the opportunity to reach their potential and be regarded as a valued member of society.
What our audiences say about Paul:
- “Extremely helpful and interesting account of life - really good to hear personal experiences and advice”
- “Excellent - Wonderful open and honest - very good”
- “A good speaker, clear and honest”
- “Exceptional-Very interesting and comprehensive, well presented”
- “Very helpful explanation of how it feels to have AS and how to find help”
- “So helpful in giving us an understanding of AS”