Autistic boy top of the class
Monday 30 December 1996
Nineteen-year-old Andrew Robinson celebrated Christmas with three medals from the country's largest A-level exam board - one for gaining the highest mark nationally in general studies and the others for coming within the top five candidates in two other subjects.
The achievements mark a milestone in an educational career which saw him removed from junior school at seven. The boy who could not mix with his classmates left specialists divided - some thought he was gifted while others saw bad behaviour.
Six years later, Andrew was diagnosed as suffering from Asperger's syndrome, a little-understood form of autism causing obsessional behaviour and difficulties with relationships. Yet the condition also revealed itself in a startling academic ability. With the help of 15 hours a week home tuition, he gained five GCSEs and a sixth-form place at the tertiary college near his Derby home, setting him on the path to the awards from the Associated Examining Board.
Now in the first year of a degree in politics at Nottingham University, Andrew said: "Asperger's has given me abilities as well as disabilities."
Among his strengths are tremendous powers of critical analysis. But any subject involving sheer description or learning by rote is out of reach, ruling out maths, technology or languages.
Andrew's parents face the reality of a disorder which saw their son score highest among more than 18,000 candidates, yet which means they must continue to care for him.
His father, Graham, speaks of Andrew's "amazing ability to focus ... But that tunnel vision is part of the problem - he can tell you all about Karl Marx but he can't make a cup of tea."
- 1 Avengers: Age of Ultron: Nearly 700 German cinemas refuse to show movie
- 2 Man cooked alive with 12,000 pounds of tuna
- 3 X Factor in crisis as numbers of people auditioning plummets
- 4 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
- 5 Baltimore riots: Furious mother marches her son home live on TV
Bali Nine executions live: Indonesian firing squad shoots dead eight drug offenders despite outcry around world, but a ninth is spared
Keith Harris dead: Orville the Duck ventriloquist dies aged 67 following battle with cancer
Man cooked alive with 12,000 pounds of tuna
General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
Baltimore riots: Furious mother marches her son home live on TV
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm of accountants based ...
£30000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a financial services c...
£30000 - £32000 per annum + car allowance and on call: Ashdown Group: A succes...
£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Well established small company ...