Wildlife presenter Chris Packham has said he hopes his new programme about Asperger syndrome will show the condition is “something other than a total handicap”.
The Springwatch star was diagnosed with Asperger’s – an autism spectrum disorder that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others – in 2005, but has said that if there was a cure he is not certain he would want it.
Packham, 56, has now made a BBC2 film, entitled Chris Packham: Asperger’s And Me, which shows the impact of the condition on himself and others.
He told Radio Times magazine: “I hope the documentary will show that Asperger’s is something other than a total handicap.
“And of course I want it to help younger people with Asperger’s, who become inordinately depressed and sadly often suicidal.
“They’re incredibly creative with enormously interesting mindsets, locked away in a bedroom on their own, lonely kids in a very bad place.”
Packham said having Asperger’s has given him certain skills.
“There’s a tremendous amount I like about having Asperger’s,” he said.
“I can remember things. You don’t want to play me at Trivial Pursuit. It’s just retentive memory, not intelligence, but if I’ve read it, I can regurgitate it.”
He continued: “If there were a cure for Asperger’s, I don’t know if I’d want it.
“Humanity has prospered because of people with autistic traits. Without them, we wouldn’t have put man on the moon or be running software programs.
“If we wiped out all the autistic people on the planet, I don’t know how much longer the human race would last.”
:: The Radio Times is out on Tuesday.