About Chris Bonnello (Captain Quirk)
Remember the weird kid from school? He grew up and became me.
Except, it turned out not to be ‘weirdness’ at all.
Who are you?
I am Chris Bonnello, a former primary school teacher with Asperger Syndrome, now turned autism speaker. I grew up with Asperger’s before anybody really knew what it was: back in the age where dyslexic kids were considered ‘thick’, kids with ADHD were just ‘badly behaved’, and autism (unless you were severely affected) simply meant you were ‘weird’.
Why are you writing this?
I have two motives for this site, and its associated Facebook page:
- Awareness/acceptance/understanding. We’re currently at a crossroads as far as autism awareness goes: pretty much everybody has heard of autism, but not everyone knows what it really is, how it affects people, or how it affects autistic people differently (not least, those at the awkward midpoint of nearly-but-not-quite being “normal”- who often struggle in social settings, who find the job market especially hard, but rarely have charities running fundraisers for them). One way or another we will end up reaching the other side of that crossroads, and I believe those of us affected by autism have a responsibility to discuss the subject in depth- so that we get a voice in how autism is seen in the future.
- Guidance. There’ll be a load of people out there (teens and young adults mostly, I suspect) who have recently learned about their autism or Asperger’s, and are still coming to terms with it. Or even teenagers who are in that “finding out who you are” phase, which is difficult whether or not you have something else to contend with. I am hoping that this site can provide some guidance to those who are trying to navigate their way through life with autism.
So you’re a speaker too?
Apparently there aren’t many autistic former teachers out there, which I’m told makes my voice particularly unique. I talk about autism from both a professional and personal perspective, am unashamedly open about the difficulties I have faced in the past, and have a deep-seated passion for building people (hence the teaching career!).
Who are you, besides an ex-teacher and autism speaker with Asperger’s?
I’m an writer doing a Masters Degree in creative writing, a chess geek, a drummer and a practising Christian.
To avoid this page becoming about too many things, quite a few me-as-a-person bits are in my first post (written April 2015, but it’s all still accurate).
Autistic, Not Weird
The stats aren’t great for autistic people, it has to be said. In Britain, 81% of people on the spectrum are not in full-time employment. (This has included myself for most of my life, despite being on my third university degree.) Over 40% of autistic children are bullied at school (I actually thought it was higher, but I won’t complain). 20% of autistic children get excluded from school. And, according to the National Autistic Society, “At least one in three adults with autism are experiencing severe mental health difficulties due to a lack of support.”
All of this can make living with autism pretty difficult. If this site can help people without autism to understand the condition and those who have it, and if it can help those with autism become one of the 19%, 60%, 80% and two thirds respectively, then job done.
I hope you find some useful insight here, and thanks for reading.
Chris Bonnello / Captain Quirk
Chris Bonnello is an autism speaker, available to lead talks and training sessions from the perspective of an autistic former teacher. For further information please click here (opens in new window).
Copyright © Chris Bonnello 2015-2017