Singer-songwriter Gary Numan has said he sees Asperger’s as a “positive advantage” to his life and the problems it causes him are “far outweighed by the advantages”. Numan, 64, found fame as the frontman of new wave band Tubeway Army before going on to forge a successful solo career.
Speaking to journalist Sian Williams on her Channel 5 News segment Mind Matters with Dr Sian, Numan explained he was put on medication as a teenager after a psychiatrist suggested he may have Asperger’s, a form of autism, but never received a formal diagnosis. Numan said: “I see it as a positive advantage to my life, an enhancement to who I am and what I am.
“I don’t see it as a disability or handicap or whatever we are supposed to say, I don’t see it that way at all. I genuinely believe that the small amount of problems that it brings, such as being awkward in conversation and company is far outweighed by the advantages that it brings. Focus to detail, determination, drive, perseverance.”
Numan, who is currently on tour in the UK, continued: “You know, they talk about Asperger’s people as being obsessive, as if that’s a bad thing. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, you know, in my business to be obsessive about what you do is vital.
“So it gives you skills, which in certain professions are incredibly useful, and I don’t know if I would be here without them, I don’t know if I’d have the drive. You see the world slightly differently and, from my point of view, you react to the world slightly differently.”
Numan married his wife Gemma O’Neill in 1997 and revealed the relationship helped him to develop skills his Asperger’s had prevented him from harnessing. “Since I’ve been with Gemma, which is 30 years now, she’s been amazing in all sorts of ways," he said.
“In helping me learn these skills and pointing out to me the mistakes that I make in a really lovely way. Never making me feel bad or awkward, just helping me to learn these little tricks that will never be natural to me, ever.
“But learning how to do these things that I can engage with people in a way that doesn’t cause any offence or upset or make people feel awkward talking to me.” He added: “You’re just always learning. Always, you know, because it is unnatural to me, that sort of thing.”
Mind Matters with Dr Sian regularly airs on Channel 5 News at 5pm.
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