Member Profiles: Alex Rushworth

At a recent meeting of the Community Voice, the group decided that it would be good to have profiles of members on the website. We thought this would be a good way for people who don’t know our organisation to hear more about what we do and what our members are like. The Community Voice group decided on a list of questions that would be good to ask members – including questions about themselves, autism and about I AM.

Alex has been a member of I AM on and off for nearly 20 years  – he volunteered to be our fourth member to be interviewed for a Member Profile. Alex was interviewed by one of our Trustees Dr Debra Bradley.

Member profile – Alex Rushworth

Alex is 40. He lives in supported accommodation in Radcliffe. He lives near his dad and sees him every week. He was brought up and went to school and college in Bury. He is not working at the moment but has worked in a variety of jobs in the past, including being a cook and working in a hotel (as a cleaner and then as a pool attendant). Alex has also done voluntary work in a charity shop and has recently done some volunteering work in a warehouse.

This isn’t Alex’s first time being interviewed – he did a similar member profile for another organisation that he used to attend. He has also given talks to students training to work in various healthcare professions about the best way to approach autistic people.

What is your favourite food?

Pizza and ice cream. The best flavour I’ve ever had was pistachio – it’s a lime green colour.  Not many places sell it.

What is your favourite colour?

Blue is my favourite colour. I think it’s a relaxing colour – it reminds me of the sea.

Have you got any pets? – what is your favourite animal?

I haven’t got a pet, but my brother has got a black and white border collie called Eddie.  My brother says he’s partly mine because he knows me so well from when I see my brother.

My favourite animal is a tiger – they’ve got amazing eyes.

What is your favourite place?

I don’t have one favourite place.  I like lots of different places for different reasons.  I like being at the seaside and hearing the sound of the waves crashing.  I also like looking at the sky at night and thinking about what’s happening on all the stars and planets – I sometimes wonder if there might be someone on one of the stars looking back at me.

What is the bravest thing you’ve done?

Once I was on a trip to Blackpool with some other tenants.  One of them was diabetic and had a Hypo (low blood sugar) while we were driving.  I remembered my pool attendant training and knew what to do.  I stayed calm and reassured the person having the hypo and thought about when it was safe to tell the driver – I didn’t want to distract him while he was driving round a roundabout.

When were you diagnosed with autism? – how old were you?

I was 14 when I was diagnosed.  I had a few appointments with different people and a psychologist came and saw me at school.

What is the best thing about having autism?

I think about things in a different way – and try to work out how to help people understand how autism affects me and others.

It can also be funny sometimes when I misunderstand sayings that people use.  When I was younger if someone told me to ‘pull my socks up’ – I’d pull up my socks!

How long have you been a member of I AM (ASGMA)?

I joined when I was 19. I wasn’t a member for a few years when I was working but I re-joined about 3 years ago.

What is your favourite group / activity at I AM?

I like the Friday group. It’s good because although we go to lots of different places, we usually meet at the same place outside Primark in Manchester so it’s easy for people to meet up.

How would you describe I AM to someone who hasn’t heard of it?

It’s comfortable being with other people who are autistic and with staff who understand.  A good slogan would be ‘I am autistic, I am on fire’.

How has I AM helped you?

It’s helped me to get out and meet new people and make friends.  Before covid I sometimes met up with people outside of the groups. Coming back to the social groups has helped me rebuild my confidence and I enjoy meeting up with my friends again.

What would be different in your life if I AM didn’t exist?

I wouldn’t have as many friends or weekly routines.

Is there anything else you want to add or that you wanted to talk about?

I would like to help more people understand about being autistic.  When I was at school, some other pupils used to bully me, but I think if those pupils had understood about autism, they might not have bullied me.  I’ve wondered about doing a blog about being autistic.

If you would like to be interviewed for Member Profiles you can find out more about what’s involved by emailing or  You don’t need to be a member of the Community Voice group to be interviewed.

To find out about how I AM can offer support contact us at admin@i-am or give us a call on 0161 866 8483
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