My right to be a writer

When Andrew first shared his ambitions of being a film critic to his teachers and mentors, they told him to “get a real job”.

Andrew cannot write with a pen and pencil, but he taught himself to type and proved how skilled he is. Yet his teachers still pushed back.

Writing is Andrew’s passion and this negativity made him lose confidence. But he didn’t lose his drive.

Andrew has autism, learning disability, epilepsy, hydrocephalus, dorsal stream and a rare brain condition.

This means he finds processing information, writing and navigating dark cinema theatres very challenging. The grit he displays overcoming these and pursuing his dream is inspirational.

Raising aspirations

Andrew’s main motivation for publishing film reviews is to raise the profile of people with learning disabilities and/or autism, and raising the expectations and aspirations of the individuals themselves.

While Andrew’s teachers certainly didn’t believe in him, he vehemently believes in others.

He hopes that, through his success, others will follow their dreams.

Andrew was supported to create his own website

On  he shares his writings for others to enjoy. His reviews were described in his nomination to the Leaders’ List 2019 as:

“Andrew is insightful and is able to bring to life thoughtful and well-rounded overviews of each review he shares with his readers. Andrew explores the storyline, the directorship, the characters and the musical score with his readers. This enables his readers to make an informed decision before investing their time on viewing.”

The art of the film critic

Film reviews may not be widely considered art, but Andrew wants to contest that.

Watching a film and thinking of all the aspects listed above takes real dedication and commitment. Then, to be able to articulate his thoughts and feelings in a way readers will understand, is an outstanding achievement, not least for someone who has to overcome such intense physical barriers.

“Throughout his life, Andrew has had to be a fighter against other people’s prejudices.”

How does it feel to be a Learning Disability and Autism Leader?

“I am surprised and delighted to hear of this award. It’s great to be recognised in this way and I hope to go on to even greater things!”

“I was sad to read about the discrimination that Andrew faced but very proud of his determination to follow his dream and prove people wrong.” – Leaders’ List 2019 Judge

“Well done Andrew! You have not been deterred by others doubt & have pursued your passion then been recognised for it. You are an inspiration to us all and I look forward to reading your reviews.” – Leaders’ List 2019 Judge

In the press