Autistic student is a true survivor

7th July 2006 at 01:00
James Mathiason featured in one of the images which brought the horror of last year's July 7 London bombings home to millions of people around the world.

The autistic further education student, who had only built up the confidence to use public transport a year before the attacks, could be seen being led to safety by a fellow survivor at Edgware Road, a year ago today.

Six people died in the underground carriage in which he was travelling.

After his ordeal, the college which had helped him to travel independently, the Interact Centre in west London, was branded as failing by Ofsted and closed.

Now, despite losing much of the hearing in one ear as a result of the blast, the 22-year-old is back in education at Oaklands College in St Albans, Hertfordshire.

Just weeks after the bombing, he decided to take the trip to college on the tube once again.

His father, Barry Mathiason, said: "What goes on in his head is difficult to know because of his autism, but he seems to be coping."

The Interact Centre had 18 students on a course specifically designed for people with Asperger's syndrome.

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