Musician tells of life with autism

A GIFTED artist and musician whose autism was only diagnosed when she was 45 years old has met with Chancellor Alistair Darling to give a talk about her condition.

A GIFTED artist and musician whose autism was only diagnosed when she was 45 years old has met with Chancellor Alistair Darling to give a talk about her condition.

Aly Gynn, who lives in Bury St Edmunds, used to work with adults with autism at West Suffolk College.

It was during that work that Miss Gynn realised she saw the world in a similar way to her students. At the age of 45 she was finally diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism.

On Monday Miss Gynn, who is both an artist and musician, addressed an audience in Downing Street about autism.


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Miss Gynn said she got more nervous about making a cup of tea for visitors than she did performing on stage or giving a speech in front of the Chancellor.

Speaking about her condition, Miss Gynn said: “My diagnosis was incredibly late but I lead an independent life and I am an artist and a musician with it. I may be profoundly gifted but I still struggle. I had managed it and survived it all those years but once had the diagnosis you know you can look it and you can start implementing strategies to make it easier.

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“I absolutely love being on stage and I love doing something like giving a speech at Number 11 because I can really be myself.

“I get more nervous if someone just wants a cup of tea.”

Explaining how she came to be diagnosed with autism, Miss Gynn said: “I had always had a very clear realisation of my sensory world. I thought everybody's sensory world is like mine.

“I always worked very hard and I had a pattern of pushing myself hard. I had suffered with depression - something I now know was part of my Asperger Syndrome. I was a teacher at West Suffolk College and I was watching my students who had autism. One day I thought 'this is me' - this was my life too.”

She said the public's awareness of autism, and its different guises, had come on leaps and bounds in recent years.

Part of this success, she said, was down to the work of the National Autistic Society, for whom Miss Gynn writes a regular weblog.

Her speech in Downing Street was part of the society's Think Differently About Autism and the I Exist campaigns.

“The society seems to like me because I do show a slightly different side of autism.”

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