Chris Packham health: ‘A constant distraction’ – Autumnwatch star explains symptoms

Chris Packham health: ‘A constant distraction’ – Autumnwatch star explains symptoms

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Chris Packham, 59, will be back on our televisions on Friday night, with Autumnwatch halfway through its 2020 edition. The presenter has spoken out about his Asperger’s syndrome diagnosis.

Chris started his TV career in 1986, with the BBC children’s programme The Really Wild Show.

He continued his wildlife interest while presenting The X Creatures, Hands on Nature, and Animal Zone.

The TV star has been the face of Autumnwatch since 2009, while also presenting its sister shows Springwatch and Winterwatch.

Chris has previously revealed that he has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome.

The Autumnwatch star has explained that going to public places is more difficult for him, due to his diagnosis.

The sights and sounds of everyday life are in “hyper-reality” for Chris, he revealed.

The sensory overload is “a complete distraction”, and simply walking in the woods is very different for him.

But he insisted that Asperger’s is “something other than a total handicap”.


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“I’m anything but normal,” Chris told the Radio Times. “I experience the world in hyper-reality.

“Sensory overload is a constant distraction. I’ve just been for a walk in the woods, and it was very different for me than it would be for you – the sights, the smells, the sounds.

“We need to go to the supermarket later, and I’ll do anything to get out of it because supermarkets are a swamping of the senses. The lighting is hideous, it’s crowded, and the complex of smells is overwhelming.

“Bookshops are similar. I love books, but I hate bookshops – all the colours, the shapes, the geometry, books all over the tables – oh my God. I have lots of books, but I don’t like seeing their spines because my visual perception is hugely sensitive.”

Asperger’s is a type of condition on the autism spectrum, according to the National Autistic Society.

People with Asperger’s have reported the world feeling overwhelming to them.

It can cause severe anxiety, and may lead to problems with understanding and relating to other people.

Their social differences may cause patients to feel misunderstood.

Symptoms of Asperger’s tend to develop in early life.

One of the earliest signs of the condition is difficulty making eye contact.

If you think that you, or your child, may have Asperger’s, you should speak to a doctor.

There are some therapies and treatments available for patients, including speech-language therapy and social skills training.

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