My Life

11-year-old Andrew Cowan, who has Asperger’s, describes his
experience on Junior Mastermind.

I felt excited when I made it to the semi final of junior
mastermind. My specialist subject was Star Wars and to prepare for
it I watched the videos over and over.

My mum tried asking me general knowledge questions, but I didn’t
like that so she stopped. I didn’t write anything down because I’m
not good at writing. I remember things better in my head.

I also had to travel down to Manchester and stay in a hotel
overnight before going to the studio to film the programme. This
was a huge challenge for me because I have Asperger’s syndrome and
changes in my routine are very difficult – long journeys are a
nightmare and staying in strange places is very stressful.

Mum and I had to go to the studio early next morning, and my family
arrived later. When I got there I had to go to “wardrobe” to make
sure my clothes were ok and get my hair combed. Then we got our
photos taken sitting in the black chair, which made me nervous. But
I focused my fear and turned it into adrenalin.

John Humphreys was very nice, and wasn’t scary. However, the bright
lights gave me a really sore head. It was a very close contest, but
I won and was through to the final!

After that, there was a lot to do. My new subject was The
, and I read as much as I could and watched all my
DVDs as many times as possible. I still didn’t do much general
knowledge though. I find it very difficult to study like other
people, and prefer to do it my way.

Although I did not win the final, the experience helped me interact
better with people and proved to me that I could cope with the
challenge, even though it was really hard to do. In fact, it was
such fun, I’d do it again!

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