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Understanding autism
Understanding autism

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4.3 Wenn Lawson

Donald Triplett’s story is not just about the support of others, but also his own positivity and resilience in the face of difficulties. These attributes feature strongly in the life story of Wenn Lawson.

In an interview recorded for The Open University in 2011, Wenn described his difficult relationship with his parents, misdiagnosis with schizophrenia aged 17, troubled marriage and loss of a child in a car accident. But he also talked of his success as an academic, writer and autism advocate, some of which he attributed to the love and support he found with another partner after divorce. Wenn studied psychology with The Open University, and considered distance study to be ideally suited to people on the autistic spectrum:

[The OU] enables us to not have to mix with lots other people who might actually take away from our ability to learn. The fact that you can be in a classroom where you have got people clicking pens, turning pages, all the sensory overwhelming stuff that comes from just being with lots of people, closes me down. Whereas distance education, like the Open University courses, I can study at home, I can set up my study area, I can organise my studies, all the materials are posted out to me, I’ve got time to process the whole event of distance education in a much better way than I can if I had to go to a typical university.

(Lawson and Roth, 2011)