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St Francis Xavier's pupil publishes two books about autism

Daniel Hinnigan is keen to raise awareness about autism and Asperger's after he was diagnosed with the condition at the age of 11

Posted by Lucinda Reid | November 22, 2017 | School life

A year 10 pupil at St Francis Xavier's College has published two books based on his personal experience of having Asperger Syndrome.

15-year-old Daniel Hinnigan, from Garston, was diagnosed with Asperger’s – a form of autism – when he was age 11. Daniel has always been very open about his condition and has no problem explaining to other pupils about what it is like and how he feels.

Keen to raise further awareness, the aspiring writer penned a short story for the BBC Radio 2 ‘500 Words’ competition about a boy called Jude who has Asperger Syndrome. Based primarily on Daniel’s life, he talks openly about day-to-day situations and the struggles he often faces.

For Daniel, however, 500 words wasn’t enough and he went on to write a complete book called, The Boy Who Was Different.

Daniel said, “My aim is to bring awareness about autism and Asperger’s. The message I am trying to get across is that many people suffer with ASD and you might not even be aware. They may be people in your friendship group or even your family. If they have not had a diagnosis from a paediatrician it doesn’t mean that they don’t have it.”

“My plan was to enter the BBC 2 competition as it was already around 500 words, however, I wanted to carry on and make it a little longer. I got some help from my mum with a few paragraphs and asked my English teacher, Mr Mansfield to proof-read it,” continued Daniel. “Altogether this book took me about six months to write. I had to redraft the entire thing a number of times but I’m very pleased with it.”

Initially, the book was featured on an autism blog, however, Mr Mansfield showed Daniel how he can publish it on Amazon. Within two weeks it was available to download or it could be bought as a hard copy.

Since then, Daniel has written and published a second instalment titled, The Boy Who Was Different Growing Up, which is based upon him maturing into a young man.

Daniel commented, “It is great to see both books available to buy on Amazon – they each have five-star reviews which I’m very happy about. The library at school also has hard copies which allows other pupils to read it too in case they are a bit shy about asking questions relating to the condition.”

Within school, Daniel also likes to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day and organises fundraising competitions and collections, with proceeds going to the National Autistic Society.

English teacher and KS3 coordinator at St Francis Xavier's College, Mr Mansfield, said, “Daniel is an excellent writer and was keen to get across his experience with Asperger Syndrome, not just to other pupils, but to members of the public who may feel they are dealing with it alone. Everyone at school is very proud of his hard work and we cannot wait for the third book!”

Based in Woolton, St Francis Xavier’s College offers a rich and varied curriculum to students of all abilities. It is designed to stretch the gifted and to encourage those who require additional support.

For more information on St Francis Xavier’s College, visit their website.

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