"When you were having me mum, did you know that I wouldn’t be normal… but that I would be so extraordinary the BBC would want to talk to me?"

These were the poignant – and excited – words of 10-year-old Ed Armstrong today, following a visit to the BBC Newcastle Studios, with mum Emma Thomas and younger brother, Alan.

The school boy from Stanley, whose family receives support from the North East Autism Society through parent classes and toddler groups, has a dream to become a Youtube video blogger. Following World Autism Awareness Week, when Ed, with the help of mum Emma, made a series of short vlogs for the NEAS website, his dream of one day being an internet sensation seems all the more likely, thanks to Today’s North-East presenter Jon Harle, inviting Ed and his family to be interviewed for his radio show.

The short interview which is set to air this evening (Thursday, June 9th) features Ed discussing his hopes and dreams as well as living with autism and how it affects his young life. Emma was also interviewed alongside Ed.

Jon Harle (BBC Newcastle radio presenter)

Jon said: “It was my pleasure to be able to meet Ed and his family, and to interview such an eloquent and thoughtful boy. When we heard about this 10-year-old boy making video diaries to help other people with autism we were really interested, but having met him I’ve been really taken aback by his insights and how well he can tell his own story.

“He was also a lot of fun.”

Jon is probably referring to the fact Ed spotted a horn – the type used by clowns – hidden in the corner of the room. He then had to contain his enthusiasm for the duration of the interview before Jon gave him permission to make as much noise as he liked.

In his previous video blogs Ed talked frankly about his struggle to make and keep friends and the challenges of handling his emotions, with autism. He also talked about his fears and the need he has to do ‘checks’ each night before bed to make sure his home is safe and free from fire risks. He shared this with Jon in his interview also (click here to view the videos)

Explaining why he would like to be a ‘Youtuber’, Ed said: “Well I like Minecraft. When I build Minecraft worlds I can make a safe place, a world where I can be creative but safe. I know a lot of people with autism like it as well. It would be a good job to have my own Youtube channel because it pays well, but I could also help other people. You might think you’re the only one who doesn’t have friends, or the only one who gets scared and does checks, but then they would see me and know they’re not.”

As part of the family’s trip to the studios the boys visited the Horrible Histories exhibit and also got to see how the recording process worked.

Mum-of-five, Emma, added: “We’ve been really excited about today. When you are the child in the family with autism a lot of things revolve around you and you can feel like the problem – even if that’s not necessarily true – so it’s nice for Ed to see that his autism can also be something that brings good things into his life.”