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The Autistic Me - One Year On: Interview with Tom and Kirsty

The Autistic Me - One Year On revisits Oliver, Tom, Alex and Kirsty 12 months on from when we last met them in The Autistic Me.

I had a chance to speak to Tom and Kirsty to find out what they have been up to since filming.


Tom. After being part of the first film, why were you keen to be in the second film?

I wanted to show people that I was happier after the first show made me look unhappy and depressed. I wanted to show other people with autism are the same as normal people and can get on okay.

Your course tutor in the film is very encouraging about your progress at college - how is the course going?

Its going really good. He said a couple of weeks ago that with my scores I could get into any uni in the country to do sound engineering. He was worried about my social problems though if I did go to uni but I think I can cope as I am so far.

Have you been making plans to continue studying music at university?

Yes. I have been to visit a uni fair and got some leaflets. I want to go and see all the uni's that I think will do the course I want. Mum thinks it will do me good to stay on campus with other students and my brother James is looking into whether his uni have a music course for me. That way I could be with him too if I need anything.

How do you feel about heading off to university on your own?

I would say 'Hooray!' I am happy to try any opportunity and I am not scared of people or being different. I have learned to just get on and do what I want to do and I am more confident. I would look for a job but I also get disability allowance so I can live on that. I know people would help me.

Tell us more about the band that you are in with your mates at college.

My band has changed its name to 'Seize the World' now We have a new bassist and rhythm guitarist and we are going to play live at a festival sometime maybe in the summer.


Kirsty. In the film we see you writing your autobiography, why did you want to write your autobiography?

I wrote my autobiography because I wanted to raise awareness and inspire people of what it is like to have autism. As it comes from me I thought it would help people to understand so there is a balance of professional's point of view but my own point of view. I also wanted to let people know that not everyone with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (thats a word i use to cover the whole spectrum) is the same, we are all different in our own way, we just need some support in our areas of our lives just to have an Independent life.

Are there some specific of aspects of living with autism that you want people to know about from reading your book?

I just wanted to show how I think and feel of what it is like to live with my autism and how it affects me. I balanced the book out not just with a negative view but also positives as I see Autism as a unique gift and not something bad it's a way I can learn to cope and accept who I am and the way I am.

We see you singing at your youth club in the film, how important do you think it is to have somewhere like the youth club where you can go and hang out socially?

I think it is very important going to my youth club as it helps me to socialise and gain new friends but also to enjoy the things that I love doing such as my singing.

Have you and Alex had a chance to meet up since your birthday in February?

Me and Alex haven't met up since February yet but we are trying our best to get to see each others. It is very difficult when we live so far apart.

Has your relationship with Alex changed how you feel about the future?

Our Friendship had developed into being a couple on August 7th. Alex asked me out and I had a think about it and in the end I said yes.

It was a sad day on August 7th as it was my dog's birthday but he were put down, but when Alex asked me out on that day it lifted my mood up into happy and excited mood. We text each other every week and there was a text saying 'If I asked would you Marry Me?', the response I gave back was asking 'is it ok, If I think about it' and Alex replied back saying 'Of course, I will let you think about it'.

I can see future working out between me and Alex. We love each other and care about each other. Alex means the whole world to me.

You can watch The Autistic Me - One Year On online, then come back to the blog and let us know your thoughts.

Graham Matthews is content producer for BBC Three online.


  • Comment number 1.

    Great docu thanks,those young people are a credit to their parents and themselves.I believe they all have a good future their determination despite the difficulties was inspiring good luck.

  • Comment number 2.

    Come on! What does Oliver from "The Autistic Me - One Year On" have to do to get a job? So Asda let him stew for over 3 months and then only offered him 10 hours per week? TESCO's WHERE ARE YOU? Didn't I hear you were recruiting at present?? Snap this man up! He would be an asset to any business and has thoroughly entertained and impressed over both episodes of this documentary. Yes this is a difficult time for many people with unemployment rife, but surely this guy, who desperately wants to work deserves to be given a start? I would like to suggest a campaign to get Ollie into work but am not sure whether he has been successful yet with his job-seeking endeavours. Surely there must be a recruitment consultant out there, confident in their placement abilities who could find a job to suit this man?

  • Comment number 3.

    I watched this last night and I watched the previous one last year and thought it was really good. I myself have autism (asperges) and it was a bit wierd seeing a bit of me in the programme and see how other people coped with autism and what they were up to.

    I live in Torquay which isnt to far from Cornwall so me and Tom arent that far apart in the country.

    I was wondering if there is going to be another programm perhaps later on in the year about this? I`d really love there to be to watch it`s a guality program.

  • Comment number 4.

    I thought the show was very good. It was interesting to see how the boys and Kirsty have progressed since we last saw them in 2009.
    I felt sad for Oli after he put in the hard work in his mock interview and Asda trial. I just hope he has managed to find employment now, because he deserves it.
    Tom seems to have progressed really well despite a few difficulties with adjusting to a new life in Cornwall. It would be really good to see if he can take the next step by going to uni.
    Alex and Kirsty seem to be doing fine also. It was funny to see Alex get Kirsty's age wrong on her birthday card. I hope they manage to progress nicely in their relationship.
    Well done to the BBC for deciding to make more programmes on autism. It needs to be more understood in society as a whole so that the needs of people with autism can be met.

  • Comment number 5.

    I really enjoyed seeing this programme; it would nice to know that someone could offer Oliver a job - he is a joy to listen to and it was hard to see him struggle. Everyone on this programme is an inspiration, and it was great that the people involved were willing to share their lives with us - a huge thanks to everyone including the programme makers.

  • Comment number 6.

    I can't believe Olly still hasn't got a job! With his incredible work ethic shown LAST year employers should have been beating down his door! I hope Asda are thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

    I don't know if all the people featured check on here - but Olly you should get in touch with Betterware Distribution - you can work any hours you want - minimum of 10 a week. There's minimum social skills involved and you can set your own routine and make a fair bit of money. It's saved my life recently when I had my hours cut in my job.

    It's great to see Tom and Alex doing so well too - 2 out of 3 well on the road to achieving their goals is great! Hopefully next year we'll get to see all 3 again and they'll all be settled.

  • Comment number 7.

    I feel really sorry for Oliver. He's a very intelligent guy and has a quirky charisma with an excellent sense of humour, like Bill Oddie or Johnny Kingdom. I would have loved to hear more about his interest in history. In fact, you should get him to present a half-hour history programme. He's a tv natural and I'd say whatever he was talking about would make for brilliant television. You could do a one-off, and see how it goes, but I'd say you'd have a real winner on your hands.

    Who dares wins! If you don't get him Tony Robinson probably will...

  • Comment number 8.

    this documentry really struck a cord with me, my son is identical in his ways as the young man Tom and has had all the same difficulties. I have struggled over the years since he was 7 to get a true diagnosis but we have only had advisory notes, such as autistic tendancies, ecentric, mood swings, bipolar tendancies, he just wants a diagnosis so he can deal with it. I keep struggling on and every day is a struggle, he has also just started college and faced the same problems as Tom, I feel he will need more support in the future and hope to find it from somewhere. good luck to all the young people on the documentry and again I thought it was brilliant x

  • Comment number 9.

    not a bad program but id like to point out a few missing "parts".

    all of the people in the film were "young", for the most part they lived with their parents, this means that they essentially have 24hr support.
    Try getting 24hr support as an adult with an "ASD" its practically impossible.

    what i would like the BBC to record and air is a program about "adults" with ASD, what i mean by adults is people over 30 (possibly under 30 but not living at home) adults who have to try and obtain "services" from their local councils, how about showing the immense struggle they have to face every single day just trying to obtain "basic" care.

    As an adult on the Autistic spectrum myself i can speak with some authority on the struggles an adult faces each and every day.

    awareness and services for children on the spectrum is poor but improving all the time, however for adults its a whole different ballgame, for the most part you are largely ignored and asked questions over the phone like "can you wash", well for an asperger person the question is black and white, and taken in such context your rationalle says "well i have 2 hands and can run a tap so yes i can least physically i can", and with that response comes your response "you have no care needs" OR "its not in our remit". What this dosn't take into consideration however is wether your brain functions in such a way that "tells" you to wash, if that thought does not occur then you dont wash it's that simple. In cases like that you need "interaction" to help you with the most basic of functions...washing.

    i could rattle off a load more things but this is not the place for it, i will however say kudos to those kids in the film, it gave them a voice and brought awareness to thousands of people who would without the program be completely clueless about what makes us tick.

    finally i would like to say that the traits exhibited by the kids in this film do not change as they get older what does happen however is that methods of concealing these traits are learnt, sometimes the hard way sometimes with people helping them and coaching them in coping mechanisms.

  • Comment number 10.

    Hi Graham,

    My Previous Comment I hadnt finnished - here is the rest of it
    Three Blogs:
    1) General Opinions on things - The One I mentioned in my Previos Comment (Anthony's Dashing Views)
    2) Sign Language Signs for Songs and Other Common Convocational things (Inclusive Communication)
    3) One mostly about Railway Issues - Some I hope would be helpful for Staff who have recieved deliberate Rudeness (Do not know Name Yet)

    I am also signing at Church various hymns.

    On My the 12th I will be giving a talk on Living With Autism.

    As part of my job I deliver Training on Living With Autism to Staff Team and provde support for MacIntyre Staff Teams.

    Many Thanks

  • Comment number 11.

    Reminded me of a programme about a man with schizophrenia years ago in that his condition/life was made worse by not having access to paid employment when it appeared that he wanted it and could do it. If the word society is taken to include all people, and society cannot manage to give these people jobs, then perhaps they should at least be given loss-of-earnings level money so that they can have a nice home of their own, disposable income, gain access to resources generally, even money to perhaps even start their own businesses or other initiatives.

  • Comment number 12.

    Hi Graham,

    This is the first section to my comment that is up there dated 2:59pm on 26 Apr 2010.

    I am pleased that the BBC has followed up with the four individuals that they filmed last year for the documentry 'The Autistic Me' Last year.
    Tom's brother Josh was not mentioned as having Autism, as he was this time unless either I have forgotten that he was or something has changed, like Josh has recently had a diagnosis.

    I was diagnosed as having Asperger Syndrome when I was 11. I am now 29 and have had two jobs, both of which were succesfull and I have enjoy. I have recently left one on good terms.

    As part of my Job I deliver a Training Course on Autism From a Personal Perspeective and will be giving a talk on Autism in my local church. I am hoping at some point to have a Family Members Perspective writen soon and and to start supporting people with other conditions to write there own 'Personal Perspective' training course.

    I give advise to staff teams around suporting people with Autism to Homes Operated by the organisation I work for.

    I feel a real part of my church, my place of work, and also did feel a real part of the Supermarket Staff team before I left.

    I passed my driving test about a year and a half ago and it was a struggle while I was learning mainly because my father was trying to impose his own driving techniques. I however eventually passed my test (second time) and would like to teach other people with 'special needs; to drive. I would be interested to watch 'Autistic Driving School' and so will some of my colleagues the Office I work at.

    My Projects are mentioned on my previous in my previous commenet.

  • Comment number 13.

    I want to be able to buy this and the first documentary about Alex, Oliver and Tom - fabulous films offering a wonderful perspective into these young men's lives (and Kirsty's!). Well done Matt Rudge for such an engaging piece of film-making - you've drawn out the emotional life of each of these young people and brought it to the fore, particularly important when ASD diagnosis tends to focus on the lack of emotional connections and difficulties with interpersonal relationships. I feel like I know and love them all! Congratulations to all involved in making the programmes, and PLEASE will someone give Oliver a job!!!!

  • Comment number 14.

    I thought this was a wonderful documentary about four lovely young people. Fascinating in terms of the various family dynamics, non-judgemental and a tribute to the film makers and to BBC3 for commissioning this series.

  • Comment number 15.

    What a fantastic programme! I am a teacher and try to teach job skills to my students the skills, intellect and positive outlook that Oliver portrayed in the show were exemplary and I only wish my students would show these skills in such abundance. Its disappointing that there is no work out there for Oliver and people like him when they show such commitment and enthusiasm for it. Well done to all involved in the show! I think it should be sent to major employers to show them that people with autism should not be written off.

  • Comment number 16.

  • Comment number 17.

    Watched both last years and the follow up for this year - fantastic well done. How lovely to see these young men develope and do so well. Even with Ollie's job dilema, he's still and inspiration to others. I think the previous comment made by another viewer regarding the television company given him a job is spot on - come people wake up and help him and then we can have series 3! Please pass on well wishes to all - there a joy to watch.

  • Comment number 18.

    If the word society is taken to include all people, and society cannot manage to give these people jobs, then perhaps they should at least be given loss-of-earnings level money so that they can have a nice home of their own, disposable income, gain access to resources generally, even money to perhaps even start their own businesses or other initiatives.


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