Paul Maywood

Arsenal fan, marathon runner and full time factory worker Paul Maywood, is 62. Diagnosed with TSC as a toddler, it wasn't until he was in his 40s that Paul was told he has Aspergers Syndrome. Exceptionally bright and an accomplished impressionist with Billy Connolly being a personal favourite – here Paul shares what it is like to live with Aspergers and TSC. 
I’ve had it confirmed to me that Aspergers is part of my condition. It doesn’t mean that everyone with TSC has autism, although, as I understand it more have it, than not. 
I was in my 40s when I found out. I saw a psychologist - she told me I had Aspergers and gave me a book to read about it. It frustrates me - but also I accept it. 
I was diagnosed with TSC as a child and my paediatrician told my mother I would not live beyond 14, but now I am running marathons. 
But the minute you mention Aspergers to employers the red flags come up. 

I'm lucky. I have been employed with this company for 41 years - that two life sentences with no time off for good behaviour. And I also worked with Arsenal groundsman for 11 years. I also sell lottery tickets for them.  

When I watch the football, I feel part of the crowd. I belong to the supporters club and I go to a lot of away games. We have cups of tea on the coach, a lady makes sandwiches for us and I see the guy who does the Arsenal fans TV. 

But I’ve always found this - maybe I am paranoid - I do find that I have a poor record in terms of numbers with having relationships. Part of it, is a fear of rejection. 
Where I work, if there’s someone I like, or they might like me – then some of my colleagues will put a dampener on potential relationships. So now, if there is someone I like then I try to appear not interested to avoid this happening. 

Makes me feel frustrated. And on top of that my mum, who I live with, has dementia – so even if someone nice did get interested now I don't think that it would work. Who would want to take that on? 

I’d love to get the ability to get enough confidence to meet someone and have a relationship. I’ve had a couple of girlfriends, but they didn’t work out.  
People think that I am stupid, but I am not. I am good at languages, I speak Spanish and I can do lots of jokes.  

I’d like to meet someone who is going through something like I am now – I have Aspergers and I am caring for my mum with dementia. 

What advice would I give to parents of children with autism / Aspergers? 
I respond best to people who give me credit for what I can do and encourage me. Being discouraged is the last thing that anybody wants.