Alternative Reality – Living with Autism without knowing it!


My alternative Life – Before my diagnosis Part 1


To Neurotypical (Normal) People the definition is:

Alternative: Relating to activities that depart from or challenge traditional norms.”an alternative lifestyle”

Oxford Dictionary

To Neurodivergent People like me, it is the exact opposite – I only visit Normal; I don’t get to stay there…


Part 1

  • I was born at a very young age on 19 August 1978. It was a Saturday.
  • I grew up in a small town. The bank in our town was only open on Fridays. We did not have a High-School, only a Primary School with a total of 127 scholars.
  • My father was a Dutch Reformed Church Minister, he passed away 15 years ago. We did not have a close relationship. My mother was a housewife, we did not have a close relationship.
  • I have 3 brothers and 1 sister, but I grew up alone. I entertained myself by reading Encyclopedias, this was before computers and the internet naturally.
  • My father purchased our first computer when I was in primary school and I would play Space Invaders. This would start my fantastic lifelong journey with PCs, Laptops, Tablets and Smartphones.
  • In 1991 I was selected to attend a Winter School program for Gifted Children at the University of Pretoria. I was 12 years old.
  • I went to High-School in 1992 in a neighboring town 60 kilometres (37 miles) away and had to stay in the Hostel. This was the beginning of living independently.
  • In 1994 I received Provincial Colors for playing the trumpet in our school band at the National Championships. I cannot read music and play by ear and memorizing the tunes.
  • In 1996 I was voted a Prefect at school and I was voted Head Boy of our Hostel.
  • In 1996 I received National Colors for placing first in Individual Performance in Drama in a National Acting competition.
  • In 1997 I studied Method Acting at the University of Pretoria. I did not finish due to an opportunity to travel to London, England.
  • In 2000 I traveled to London with a backpack and a little bit of cash to see ‘if I can make it’. I knew no-one there and did not have a job or a place to stay.
  • I lived and worked in London for a whole year at a 800 room Hotel next to Tower Bridge.
  • I served Sir Alex Ferguson without knowing who he was. He asked me when he settled his bill whether I knew who he was, I said No. He shook my hand and said that it was the best breakfast he had ever had.
  • To receive large tips at the hotel I would challenge tables to test my memory. They could order food and drinks and I would not write it down. I would only memorize it. If I could serve all their orders without double checking anything, they would double or triple my tip! I made zero errors, and a lot of money.
  • I developed a Shift Roster for the Hotel which they still use today.
  • In 2001 my visa expired, and I returned to South Africa and started working as a Project Manager with my cousins in the Construction Industry. I developed a Marketing Strategy for them to increase their sales and exposure. They still use this strategy today.
  • In 2004 my cousins left the group and started a family business and asked me to join them. We were successful until 2009 when the global credit crunch forced us to shut down operations.
  • In 2001 I started training in Shaolin Longfist Kung-Fu with Master Weng Jun-Yi in Pretoria, South Africa. I received 5 Black Belts and retired as a Kung Fu instructor and a Tai Chi instructor in 2019.
  • In 2006 I was voted Time Magazine Person of the Year!

If only…

I wish I knew what Autism was back then, we didn’t have sites like:

Autism Speaks: Home

What Is Autism? | Autism Speaks


We also did not have cool articles like:

3 Saints who may have had autism spectrum disorder

Genetic risk of autism spectrum disorder linked to evolutionary brain benefit

We did not have the convenience of expert advice:

Children with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder show unique handwriting patterns: Integrative education system should consider this factor, say experts


Read more on:


3 responses to “Alternative Reality – Living with Autism without knowing it!”

  1. Holy shit!!!
    I love your story. The bit about the tip bet is pure genius, lol. Now, I will be off to look for that 2006 Times’s Person of Year. Bravo, and I hope you are still a success, even though autism is considered a disorder.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: