Alex Lowery, 20 from Wales UK, is a Public Speaker who talks about his own experiences growing up with autism. He was given a verbal diagnosis of classic autism when he was 4. Autism Daily Newscast asked Alex to share his experiences of growing up on the autistic spectrum.
“Growing up on the autistic spectrum hasn’t been easy for me. I never really liked it when I was treated differently from other children. I never liked the fact that I had therapy, but no other children did. I was also aware that I was different from other children, even before I knew I had autism. I’ve always found making friends extremely difficult (This still is). Through my teenage years, it’s been especially awkward, because I behaved so differently from other teenagers”
Alex continues to receive a lot of help from his family. His dad is an accountant so manages the financial side of things and his sister in law Suzanne Lowery who is a graphic designer, built and maintains Alex’s website.
“My mum looks after me full time and manages all my diary and schedule and takes me to venues, although I now have some funding through access to work for a support worker to take me. Donna Oates is my support worker and she has worked with me since I was seven. My mum also helps me with the PowerPoint presentations and helps me to know if what I am saying isn’t clear. I am pretty good at punctuation and I correct her sometimes.”
Alex explained that he was around the age of 17 when he decided Public Speaking might be the right direction for him to go in. He did his first Speech when he was 17. It was for the Saint John’s Ambulance group that he went to. Alex was asked to give a talk about autism and communication. Shortly after this talk Alex received training in Public Speaking from Dean Beadle (a well-known Public Speaker with autism) through Autism Cymru. Following this Alex was given more opportunities to speak and so his career in Public Speaking began.
“What I hoped became reality. I would struggle to do a normal job but this way I get to do something I believe in and I can earn my own money.”
Autism Daily Newscast asked Alex why he decided to share his experiences of Autism with others.
“When I was 15, I used to watch YouTube videos about autism. I saw a lot of people with High Functioning Autism or Asperger Syndrome making videos about how the condition affected them. When I watched these, I learnt to accept myself and not feel ashamed of having autism. I decided I wanted to do the same as these others. I had a strong feeling to share my experiences of autism ever since then. I set up a YouTube Channel and started making videos about how autism affects me. As I was doing this, I seemed to be helping a lot of other people on the autistic spectrum as well as parents of those with autism.”
Alex speaks at many different venues and settings all across the UK. He has spoken at organisations such as the Welsh Assembly and the National Autistic Society. Alex’s next venue is at Flintshire County Council where he will be providing Autism awareness training to social care staff. When asked if he gets nervous while Public Speaking, Alex replied,
“When I first started Public Speaking, I got extremely nervous. However, I’m now not too bad most of the time. It depends but I’m usually a little bit nervous, but not very. I’m just used to doing talks now. However, if I’m doing a Speech in front of people who I know, that’s when I not only get nervous but anxious. If I know the audience, I know that their reaction to me speaking is going to be far different from strangers. Because of this, I hate doing talks in front of people I know well.”
As well as Public Speaking Alex provides lots of information through his website and blog. He has also written a book. Autism Daily Newscast asked Alex about his forthcoming book
“I don’t know for definite what the title of my book will be yet, but we’ve thought of the title ‘Thinking Club: A Filmstrip of my life as a person with autism’. That’s the planned title, but this may change. Thinking Club was what I used to call the time during the day, when I would Stim. We’re in the process of looking for Publishers. The book is basically my life’s story from the age of 3 up to me starting up in business. I start by talking about my earliest memories. I explain how I used to find going into shops scary, and all round found the world a horrible place. The book goes through the progress I’ve made, the help I’ve had to get to where I am today and many other things. I hope this book can help people understand autism better.”
You can also watch videos of Alex on his YouTube channel