Kathy Lette’s new novel

The novelist Kathy Lette last week broke her silence over her son Julius, who was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome when he was 13. Julius is now 21 and his mother has decided to use her experience of Julius’s education to fight for the right of all children with Asperger’s to get specialist education and support.

In an interview with Richard Brooks of The Sunday Times yesterday, Lette said: “Mainstream schooling simply does not work for Asperger’s sufferers. It’s a dismal failure for them.”

Julius spent many years in the state education system in Camden, north London, and some years in private specialist schools. His mother thinks he flourished in the private school system – especially at Fairley House in London and a specialist private school in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Now she’s hoping that Julius will find a niche as an adult – maybe as a radio commentator, where he could use his phenomenal knowledge of tennis statistics and facts. Asperger’s sufferers often harbour obsessions, leading to an astonishing knowledge of their favourite subjects.

Lette has written a novel The Boy Who Fell to Earth, in which the main character Merlin has Aspergers.

If you have views on whether Aspergers sufferers do better in mainstream or specialist schooling – or tips for specialist schools that are particularly good at schooling Aspergers children do let me know.

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4 Responses to Kathy Lette’s new novel

  1. Siobhan Barlow says:

    Hi,
    I came across your article on the internet after searching the internet for information on Kathy Lette and Aspergers, I thought I must reply to it.
    I am a single mum and have a 14 year old son with ASD in mainstream school. I am presently fighting to get him statemented and proving that his school does not give him the support he requires.
    I truly believe that children like my son should not be in mainstream school. It angers me so much that for some bizarre reason , parents like myself have to fight to prove our children are different and have needs that mainstream schools can not meet. We shouldn’t have to fight like this, where is the support for us and our children?!!
    My son has been out of school for over 4 weeks now due to medical reasons(anxiety and self harming). It all started when his school announced he wasn’t wearing appropriate school shoes (Clarks black velcro school shoes)and if continued to wear them he would be taught in isolation. He also has hyper-mobility syndrome which I explained to the school and so needed that type of shoe for support. I showed the school medical letters but still they wouldn’t agree to the shoes. Disability Discrimination!
    They have actually agreed to the shoes now, but my son is still suffering from anxiety.
    There maybe light at the end of the tunnel one day as I have heard there are wonderful schools that do support our children. Blossom House in London being one of them.

    • Sian Griffiths says:

      Thanks for your post. I do hope you find a school where your son can flourish. Is The Treehouse in Muswell Hill, north London suitable? I have heard very good things about it but am not sure what range of children it accepts.

  2. Brin Nadler says:

    I am desperate to know the American school Kathy Lette found. The Currajong school in Melbourne, Australia is remarkable!

  3. outoutout says:

    Sorry, I must quickly point out that it’s more correct/respectful to say “has Aspergers” or “is an Aspie”, instead of “Aspergers sufferers”. Many Aspies believe their condition is an integral part of who they are, and they don’t consider themselves to be suffering any more than other people suffer from having brown hair, or being female, etc.

    As for schooling, I think it’s really important to remember that people with Aspergers are individuals, just like any other group of people. So you can’t really say that X type of learning is right for all of them. I have two children on the autism spectrum. One is heading into a mainstream school setting and one is in a special school. We are really lucky; we had a fantastic education advisor who was able to help guide us through the system. I think the best thing you can do is look at your child as an individual – not purely a diagnosis – look at their individual strengths and weaknesses. You may have to do trial-and-error, there may be some tears.. that’s the way it was for us, too… but it’s not as simple as saying, “Oh, he has Aspergers? X school it is!”

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