Today for our #myKINDofChristmas campaign behind door two we explore Christmas and neurodiversity by speaking to some adults who are part of our North East Autism Society world.

Some of our friends would traditionally be called neurotypical, others neurodivergent. But what became apparent immediately was the importance of family – and quality time – for everyone we spoke with; even if family time looks different for every person!

We hope you enjoy our short video, and today’s interview.

We’d love you to share our content and comment on our social channels about what makes your kind of Christmas. Let’s shatter some myths and spread a message of kindness this festive period!

Wearing a 2ft high flashing Christmas tree hat, and a jacket wrapped in Christmas tree lights, the only thing brighter than the festive attire he’s wearing is his smile. We spoke to 33-year-old Steven Mennim – a self-confessed fan of Christmas - about his memories and feelings regarding the festive period and why it’s important to talk about neurodiversity in the public eye.


Q: Steven, tell us what Christmas means for you.

A: “For me, Christmas is a time to celebrate and spend time with family, I like just about everything about Christmas really, though bringing family together is one of the things that stands out. There’s not much I don't like about except maybe the hassle of getting the decorations up and later putting them away at the finish.”


Q: You’re obviously someone who likes colours and lights – can you tell us about that?

A: “I actually don't favour lights and colour too much. The lights I carry on my coat and bag around Christmas are a way of expressing myself as an individual. And what better time than Christmas to do something way out there and 'flashy'!”


Q: We really appreciate you supporting the #myKINDofChristmas campaign. Why do you feel such awareness and acceptance raising is important?

A: "Helping people understand neurodiversity is so important, as just because someone may be autistic or otherwise may be 'wired up' a bit differently than what might be considered normal, we are not something to be feared or thought of as being any less of a person.

“We all have our own unique talents and interests, in that often times we are better at some things than others, particularly if it’s around special interests. One of my favourite quotes is by Albert Einstein who once once wrote, ‘Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.’”


Q: Why does that resonate so much?

A: “Well, Einstein was one of the most brilliant minds in our world and he himself is nowadays believed to have been autistic. Although that’s just speculation. If there can be a world where more people can understand and nurture our talents without fear, or being thought of as less somehow, then maybe we too can do great things.”


Q: Steven what would be your best and worst bits of Christmas?

A: “That would be having a Christmas dinner round the table at my Nana's on Christmas day, or on Boxing Day when my Mum would put on a big spread and invite the family round. I quite enjoy family gatherings, although the harder parts of Christmas are because sadly my Grandparents are no longer with us.”