This interview is the fourth in a series where I interview Mentor AspienGirls or Aspienwomen from a variety of countries about their lives, Asperger Syndrome, their gifts and talents and more! I founded the Aspienwoman and Aspiengirl mentor project to showcase females of all ages who act as mentors and role models to others on and off the Spectrum.
A young Honey Parker singing her heart out
Tania: Hello Honey and thank-you for agreeing to participate in the Aspiengirl mentors interview project, where I interview girls and women on the Spectrum from a variety of countries and backgrounds. As you know, I was introduced to you after I interviewed your fabulous mother, UK actress and director Olley Edwards, who had just released her pioneering short film on Asperger Syndrome and females, which stars you, and also she had just published her first female Asperger Syndrome guidebook!
Honey: Thank-you for asking me. I am happy to join my mother in such a cool Project.
Tania: You appear to have a very busy life. You are an actress going to school and you are also a young female on the Spectrum. When and how did you receive your diagnosis? How old were you at that time?
Honey: I was diagnosed at age 6, at hospital. I was always very clever and I could read at three. I hate change, eat the same foods on the same days of week and when the school did a surprise practice fire alarm, I hated it. I often got sad and angry when I got home. When my baby sister Cherish was born, it was a huge change. When I visited them in hospital I didn’t cope well. The nurse told my mum “don’t worry my autistic daughter did that too” but mum didn’t know I had Aspergers then, so that’s how it started.
Tania: You certainly displayed some traits. Sounds like the nurse was spot on with your diagnosis. In terms of acting, was it a natural progression from watching your mother?
Honey: No! I watched a panto (British tradition of winter musical comedy theatre) and told mum I wished to do that too! So she made it happen for me by contacting the local theatre. I’ve been hooked and I love it. Since then, I’ve done a panto, TV shows and two films.
Tania: What is your secret to living successfully, as a young girl with Asperger Syndrome/Autism?
Honey: Be positive, take days off, and make the most of ‘hyperfocus’.
Tania: I’m really glad you mentioned a strength, or aspienpower, as I refer to them. I appreciate your strengths-based approach to living, as an Aspien. This is what the Aspien Mentor Project is all about. Hyperfocus, like other asperpowers has a double-edged sword, but I have seen people create websites, write a book or create a song, and more, when they are in the ”ásperzone”. What advice would you say to other young females on the Spectrum?
Honey: Go for anything you want to do, don’t let anyone say you aren’t capable, never give up.
Tania: Awesome advice coming from an 11-year old. What strengths do you think Asperger Syndrome has brought you, in terms of being successfulas an actress?
Honey: I can copy people really well! That’s always good for acting
Tania: What are your goals for the future?
Honey: I want to achieve so many things; I want to be in the musical wicked! Keep getting really great grades at school, design clothes and sing sing sing!
Tania: Honey, thank-you so much for agreeing to be a Mentor. And thank-you to you Olley for raising such a fantastic girl, who is now 11 years old, a grade A student and head of anti-bullying organization.
Olley: Honey has come out of her shell as direct result of diagnosis and correct support and schooling. We hope this may help mums who have just found out and provide hope. Thank-you for creating this project and inviting us.
Tania: That’s fantastic to hear Olley. The diagnosis can be, but unfortunately isn’t always, a starting point or turning point for others, to a life where the individual now understands why they feel and think differently and hopefully receive the appropriate supports and/or interventions.
Olley Edwards, Honey Parker and other actors/actresses of the movie ‘The Kindest Label’, a short film about female Asperger Syndrome awareness at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ctn6uBmUVgk