Being a natural genius sounds like the stuff that dreams are made from for many, but when the BBC recently aired the documentary ‘The Growing Pains Of A Teenage Prodigy’, we were able to capture a rare glimpse into what it’s really like to be a very clever teen living with a form of autism.
Aged just 11, Cameron managed to score 141 out of 140 on his school entrance maths test, a very early indication of his intellect. At the same age he took maths and additional maths at GCSE level, which he passed with flying colours before moving on to take his A-level, which he also passed with ease.
At the age of 14 Cameron is now studying for a degree in maths, which he is taking through the Open University.
However, though being a natural genius sounds ideal to some, Cameron’s Asperger’s has resulted in him finding it very difficult to fit into school and develop a social skill set.
“I have the social ability of a talking potato,” he said.
Cameron’s parents Alison and Rod explained in the documentary that he is struggling slightly with his maths degree because he is able to come to the answer very naturally but doesn’t always provide the necessary explanation of how he reached it.
His parents said that his struggle to explain could be related to his young age, or because he has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, which has been linked to great intellect, coupled with communication problems.
“Apparently plenty of people with Asperger’s are really intelligent, high achievers,” Cameron says. “People like Einstein and Newton, they had supposed Asperger’s.” They said.
Cameron’s family have recently relocated and for Cameron, this is the opportunity for a fresh start at a new school where he will be able establish a new social life and group of friends.
“It gives me a chance to start again, so they reckon [I’ll] actually work my way up the social ladder, instead of just staying at the bottom,” he said.
A common characteristic of Asperger’s is a difficulty making friends and connecting with others so Cameron’s parents were keen to choose the right school for their son so that he can build a good group of friends and become more aware of social cues.
Cameron’s new school specialises in the education of children with autism and Cameron’s new teachers are keen that he learns how to relate to people and maintain friendships as well as doing well in exams.
The Growing Pains Of A Teenage Prodigy is available now on BBC IPlayer.
If you would like to find out more about Asperger’s Syndrome and how counselling may be able to help sufferer’s to develop their social skills, please visit our Asperger’s Syndrome fact-sheet to find out more.