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.