Each week in conjunction with Autism Care UK, who specialise in autism support services and autism treatment, we have been celebrating some of the most high profile people along the autism spectrum. This week’s autism success story profiles German author and filmmaker Axel Brauns.
Who is Axel Brauns?
Born in Hamburg, Germany, Axel Brauns is a writer and filmmaker who is highly respected within his own country. After school Brauns began studying law, however he stopped his studies in 1984 to concentrate on his writing.
He has published numerous novels and created the popular German literal character Adina Adelung, and been nominated for the German Book Prize. As well as this, in 1992 he penned his bestselling autobiography Shadows and Coloured Bats – Living in another world where he describes his autism, which he says affected him from the age of one. Braun’s first feature film was Tsunami and Stone Piles and was critically acclaimed.
Braun is also the subject of the full length documentary The Red Carpet which focuses on his autism as well as his creative process and his life in general, a clip of which can be seen here - http://tinyurl.com/redcarpetclip.
Axel’s Experience of Autism
Like many on the autistic spectrum, Braun is fascinated in studying a particular topic. In Braun’s case, it is a reference book about German racing horse statistics and genetic information: German Harness Racing Studs. It was as a result of the joy that reading this book that inspired Brauns to write books of his own. He states in the film “My dream was to write a book that pleased other people as much as this book pleased me”. Axel realised that unlike him most people are interested in stories as opposed to race horse statistics, so decided to start writing fiction.
In his younger days Braun was unable to speak. As he grew older Axel painstakingly taught himself facial expressions, speech patterns, and even comic timing by watching films and reading books. His persistence paid off. Axel admits he still feels uncomfortable around people he doesn’t know and forces himself to spend time in public.