First of all what are your first thoughts about autism?
Public ignorance. Lack of awareness.
What is your understanding of autism?
Social awkwardness, intelligence, odd behaviour.
Do you believe that there is enough awareness of the disability here, in the UK?
There is nowhere near enough awareness anywhere, full stop. I have worked closely with many Autism charities and still have only a slight knowledge of the spectrum. This isn’t because of charities not putting the message across well enough, but because of the lack of day-to-day awareness. Word of mouth. There should be more discussion about this in the public domain, thus leading to more understanding and more acute diagnosis. Take away the taboo.
May I ask, Is there anybody close to you who has got the diagnosis of autism?
No. My mother and father are foster carers so we have had over 70 young people pass through/grow up in our home. We have had many vulnerable people stay with us that have displayed autistic traits and we have always looked out and referred these cases to whom we feel is most appropriate. People with Autism need to be diagnosed correctly and shown how they can move forward and utilise their condition, not be told they are ill or simply to go against everything that they are.
If it’s okay, could you tell me a little bit more?
I just feel strongly about the welfare of anyone growing up. I feel the younger years are when we can make the best of our youth and really mould our adult personality. Growing up is hard enough in a perfect environment, let alone a testing one. Children can be very harsh in their judgement of others but as adults we know better and should all strive to give anyone the best possible start in life.
Have you ever done anything for autism-related charities?
Yes. I often work with Anna Kennedy OBE and pretty much do everything she asks me too! Anna Kennedy is well known for setting up schools to provide an improved education and other facilities for special children affected by Asperger Syndrome and Autism. Wear It for Autism and presenting at Autisms Got Talent have been amongst my favourite events. We also are attending the Autism Glitter Ball with Mitch Winehouse.
Get your tickets here! http://annakennedyonline.com/events2/tickets/
Have you got anything you would like to tell the autism community?
Do the best with what you've got and I guarantee, you’ll surprise yourself and everyone around you.
What are your thoughts about my blog?
Nice touch putting a bit of entertainment in there. Keeps people’s focus. I find your blog honest and inspiring. I especially like your article ‘Achieving is believing’. Gonna stop there. Don’t want that head getting too big Marcus.
What is your understanding of OCD?
Good question. Not much would be an honest answer. I know that OCD affects a lot more than I would expect and takes a long time to diagnose and I would guess it would become more apparent in adult life rather than being diagnosed at an early age.
We all have a bit of OCD in us somewhere in our lives. Would you agree?
Certainly. I have some really weird obsessive compulsive urges that I still (at 31 years old) don’t understand. Luckily mine are non-intrusive to myself or others. I have silly things like attachment to certain items of clothing or if see certain patterns on the TV I have to touch them, especially certain types of coral. Lucky I’m not a pro scuba diver huh?
May I ask, is there anybody close to you who suffers from OCD?
No and to be honest I feel I should know more about the condition than I do.
Do you think OCD is a bad thing or a good thing?
If it doesn't hurt anyone and you enjoy and are happy with your condition, then why not call it a blessing? Unfortunately I’ve not heard of many OCD cases like this. If anything is affecting you and others around you in a negative way, seek help.
Have you done any kind of OCD charity work before?
No. I do know that it was OCD awareness week recently and would be happy to help out with any OCD charities.
You've featured in Gogglebox, what was the whole experience like for you?
Just like sitting at home on the sofa watching TV with me mum and dad! The cameras aren’t that intrusive so you really don’t notice the difference. The public took to us really well and our family has received nothing but praise from the programme so it was as a whole a lovely experience.
Would you ever make a return?
I would for Ma and Pa, but I doubt that I’d be welcome. I skipped channel to Celebrity Big Brother see. Bit naughty, but don’t regret it one bit.
You were in the Big Brother house last year, what was that like?
Absolutely crazy. The single most mad, nerve racking experience of my life. I met so great people and still stay in touch with everyone. Everything is so intense in that house, if someone as much as trips over its your all talking about it for hours!
What was the best/worst part about being a house-mate?
Best part – Walking out and seeing my family.
Worst part – Walking in.