"All I ever wanted in life, was to be normal."

Who are You?

My name is Mark James Craven and I am the Founder of the www.aspieheroes.com website.

What was your school life like?

My school life was a hellish experience. I was constantly bullied by those who saw me as an easy target. The worse thing was that my so called friends were often fickle, happily joining in on the name calling and insults that others had started.

How did you cope with this?

In 2002, I was invited by a friend to a group known as Yellow House. Yellow House is a registered charity working with young people by using art to change the world into a place with no discrimination. Yellow House gave me hope and I found a talent for editing, this got me media attention.

What did you do after finishing school?

After finding my knack for filmmaking in Yellow House, I decided I wanted to be a filmmaker and enrolled on a degree course at Edgehill University called BA Film & TV Production. I thought this was a great achievement and that I would succeed but half way through the second year, I dropped out.

Why did you drop out?

I dropped out as the pressure became too much for me. This was the pressure of trying to get film projects exactly right and submitted on time. Filmmaking became more of a chore instead of a joy. I realised that without this joy in my heart, the degree course was not worth continuing.

Where did you go from here?

I saw myself as a failure for dropping out and wasn’t sure what do to next. I had no job or income so I had to sign onto Job Seekers Allowance; 6 years of hell bouncing around useless work programs with no success. It was only one day when I noticed a flyer for a delivery driver job that I found a way out.

What was work like?

Having a job put me in control of my life. It was easy and I was usually done by lunch hour. The problem was I worked six or seven days a week with people never in for their packages forcing me to bring them home creating more work the following day. These issues, plus the poor pay, lead me to quitting the job.

How did you cope with leaving the job?

I decided to get counselling where I learned about Ladders of Life, a place for people to talk about their issues with autism and ADHD with people the same as them. I went on their ADHD Works Course which taught me so much about how to manage my condition. After finishing it, I decided to go into ICT.

How did you Found Aspie Heroes?

In looking for a path in ICT, I went on a web design course. Here I had to come up with an idea for my website and that is when an idea struck: Why not make my struggle my idea? Which famous people have succeeded in careers and have autism? This was when Aspie Heroes came to be.

Where do you intend Aspie Heroes to go now?

Aspie Heroes is part of the Yellow House ContentMent project, Yellow House’s mental health program designed to promote awareness and improve mental wellbeing. Aspie Heroes as its own project continues to share success stories and support people in managing their autism.