A South Oxhey teenager who has taken up singing as a way of dealing with bullies will be performing in Autism’s Got Talent next month.
Ryan Wiggins, of Hindhead Green, has Asperger’s and will be taking part in the national competition on May 10.
The 13-year-old, who plays the guitar and writes his own songs, last week finished the Watersmeet production of The King and I, where he played Louis, the son of leading lady, Anna.
Speaking about how got into the performing arts, Ryan said: "I got my first guitar as a birthday present from my Nan when I was about five and I taught myself how to play.
"I kept leaving it and coming back to it again and eventually I started to write my own songs. I like writing songs and I always try to write about stuff that is true. I tend to go for life experiences and a few of the songs are about how I got through bullying."
The Northwood School Year 8 pupil said he enjoys acting and singing and would very much like to do it professionally when he is older, although realistically he thinks he will end up working in computers.
Anna Kennedy, who established the competition, said: "It is extremely important that people with autism have an outlet. Autism’s Got Talent is a safe and secure environment where those who want to can express and perform without fear of being judged or criticised."
People of all ages will be showcasing a range of acts including singing, dancing and playing musical instruments.
Ryan’s mother, Jo, said performing helps her son’s confidence enormously.
The 38-year-old said: "When I see him up on stage he just blows me away. He comes alive and nothing fazes him or bothers him. He is in his element."
She added: "Ryan sometimes finds it difficult to interact socially with other children and this is a real achievement for him. He is following his dream and not worrying about what other people think.
"Performing allows him to enjoy himself as well as mix with all walks of life."
Last year, Ryan reached the final of the TeenStar talent competition.
His mother sent a TeenStar link to the Autism’s Got Talent judges after finding out about the competition online.
After they saw what Ryan could do, he was told that he’d made it through to the event, which will take place at the Mermaid Theatre, in London.
Speaking about the competition, which is designed to give those on the autistic spectrum a chance to showcase their talents, Ms Wiggins said: "This competition is great. It gives him a stepping stone and gives autistic kids a chance. At least they are all together and understand each other."