Gareth D Morewood blogged here for two years, 2008-2010. Gareth's first eBook, The Role of the SENCO: An Insider's Guide, is now available from the Optimus Education shop.
The BBC programme 'The Autistic Me' generated quite a lot of comment and thoughts through forums, postings, letters, e-mails and, of course this blog. One of the most interesting comments was via a colleague of mine, whose daughter said after the show ‘When is the next part mum?’ My feelings exactly.
There was something missing I felt, in so far as providing the balanced view. A teachingexpertise Facebook follower felt similarly:‘Having read the blog and I must admit to looking at the programme in a less positive light. I thought at first that it was a more positive approach to young people growing up in what is obviously a strange world, but have to agree with the blog author, it seems to only look at their weaknesses. Perhaps it was the length of the programme?’
To gain an absolute balance it is important to allow enough time to cover all perspectives of an issue, and I am not sure this programme allowed for that.
Another comment disagreed:‘I tend to disagree - though it could be viewed as highlighting the negative aspects of Autism, it gave the opportunity for people to have an insight into the issue, not many people really understand it’. Perhaps that is the key point here – that it did give an opportunity for people who don’t have any previous knowledge a chance to get some insight, and perhaps my comments do come from a background where I have some considerable knowledge. However, whenever presenting information to the public I think it’s important not to provide a skewed view, or influence those without an understanding of the issues.
Visitors to teachingexpertise on the whole agree more with my initial post – possibly as those reading it there were doing so from a more ‘specialist’ background?
‘A good review of the program and highlighting that support is needed for the families makes it even more real’.
‘This is a very apt and correct view of the show’.
As with any debate or discussion in the arena of inclusion and SEN, there are political, social, moral and personal viewpoints. I am always conscious that my personal views, as outlined throughout this blog, are not everyone’s. But whatever we think about this program, our own experiences and thoughts as a whole, another colleague summed it up pretty well I think: ‘…something that makes you sit up and take notice like that can’t be bad.’