Media and the A Word

I am sorry it has been a while since my last blog, life will always stipulate how often I can write and if I am honest I lost my spark a little.

Today’s blog is going to centre around my opinion of Autism in the media.

I am not sure whether there are genuinely more documentaries, books and autism friendly programmes or whether I am just noticing these publications more now because moo has been diagnosed.

Either way this is good news, there seems to be a wave of media coverage following the Autism Spectrum and it is great to see people with high profiles “coming out” as autistic and sharing their experiences on media platforms.

I have recently read The reason I jump By Naoki Higashida, which is a book written by a Japanese boy who is autistic and is classed as “Non-Verbal”. Naoki was 13 when he wrote this book, the book is set out in a series of questions answered by Naoki and although he is non-verbal he has found a way to communicate by using a the basic forty Japanese hiragana letters and a copy of the QWERTY keyboard, drawn onto a card and laminated. Naoki would point out the letters and somebody would translate into the written word.

The questions that Naoki covers are definitely some I wonder about with Moo, however, I can not take his word as gospel as everybody’s autism is their own. It does give a very good insight that you can draw assumptions to your own circumstances.

I highlighted a couple of paragraphs from this book that I find quite enlightening

During my frustrating, miserable, helpless days, I’ve started imagining what it would be like if everyone was autistic. If autism was regarded simply as a personality type, things would be so much easier and happier for us than they are now.

Higashida, Naoki. The Reason I Jump: one boy’s voice from the silence of autism: one boy’s voice from the silence of autism (p. 16). Hodder & Stoughton. Kindle Edition.

This statement is a lovely notion, I can never see this becoming true as “us” as a society would never allow autism to be simply a “Personality Type”. I almost think that autism deserves more respect than just a personality type / trait. People with autism have a genuine struggle, a neurotypical person does not have the struggles that a person with Autism has. Yes we may have an emotional breakdown, however, Neurotypicals have the capacity to be able to self regulate those feelings, imagine not being able to do this…

People with autism get quite a kick out of repetition. If I was asked how come, my reply would be this: ‘When you’re in a strange new place, aren’t you relieved too if you run into a friendly, familiar face?’

Higashida, Naoki. The Reason I Jump: one boy’s voice from the silence of autism: one boy’s voice from the silence of autism (p. 110). Hodder & Stoughton. Kindle Edition.

This paragraph really jumped out at me, if I said to a friend I will meet you at the pub and it is a pub I have never been to before, there would be no way I would go inside and wait in a room full of people I do not know, I would wait outside for my friend and feel relieved when they turned up.

I have also watched Chris Packham: Aspergers and Me that was aired on BBC2 at 9pm on 17th October 2017. Again such an insightful documentary by a person with Aspergers that is a well known personality in the media.

The BBC did a great job with this documentary, Chris Packham laid all bare and the lighting and the camera angles were brilliant. I have pulled a few quotes from this documentary, which rang true with me personally

22498963_10154732849666599_3478665409842968324_o.jpg

This couldn’t be any truer and especially in the case of Moo Bag, around 1 in 100 people in the UK are on the Autism spectrum and of those around 1 in 4 are female. This makes moo bag even more unique, being a female on the spectrum is currently a rare occurrence, however, there are more females now being diagnosed as they don’t tend to follow the “male” route of Autism and present in different ways and the guidelines for diagnosis now follow these.

22519995_10154732849956599_6201119599200516395_o.jpg

Again, completely true. I presented to my work colleagues around Autism and Moo Bag and our daily interactions. I used a few videos from the National Autistic Society around job interviews to portray how a person on the spectrum may feel during a job interview. Reasonable adjustments really do help and they are so easily orchestrated. Would we expect a neurotypical person to change who they are? No… so why would we expect a person on the spectrum to change who they are?

There are so many publications out there I could talk about and so many documentaries and programmes I could talk about but I will leave you with a list and you can explore these yourself.

It is always promising to see Autism in the media, the more people know about it, the more understanding they can be.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, until next time…

Claire – xx

Books:- 

The Reason I Jump  – Naoki Higashida

Fall Down 7 Time Get Up 8 – Naoki Higashida

Asperger’s Syndrome – Alis Rowe

Asperger’s Syndrome in 5-8 Year Olds – Alis Rowe

Sensory Perceptual Issues in Autism and Asperger Syndrome – Olga Bogdashina

Theory of Mind and the Triad of Perspectives – Olga Bogdashina

Autism Explained – Sara Elliot Price

Programmes:

Chris Packham: Aspergers and Me – BBC2

Are You Autistic – Channel 4

The A Word – BBC1

 

 

 

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