Sunday, 22 October 2017

Autism and Asperger's film and TV picks for kids and adults


Much has already been said about the Chris Packham: Asperger's and Me documentary screened earlier this week. It's heartening to see the overwhelmingly positive responses on social media and that awareness of autism and Aspergers is on the rise. But I have a confession.

I haven't watched it yet.

Right now, it's just a bit too raw and I know I'm going to have to walk up to it slowly (for the benefit of new readers, we're mid-way through diagnosis with one of the kids, T). But the people around me who've watched it have nothing but good things to say about it so I'm recommending it here for anyone who'd like to know more about these conditions.

Although I'm far from being an expert, a few people have asked me what else they can watch to understand autism and Asperger's a bit more, both adults and kids. So here are my recommendations.

For kids:


PABLO


Pablo is a beautiful new animated series on CBeebies, but don't let that put you off suggesting older kids also watch. T has just turned seven and mainlined the first six episodes in one sitting - he loved it so much. Its value is not just in the aesthetic and storytelling - both exemplary - but in making the idea of 'different' worlds really accessible and beautiful.

SAFFRON'S WORLD



Saffron is a girl with autism who stars in this short film made by the National Autistic Society and published on the Guardian. T really identified with her, in particularly the way she too gives inanimate objects sentience. The film shows life through her eyes and it's magical.

I don't have many more recommendations for kids. Do you? Let me know please.


For adults:


ATYPICAL



If you want a really accessible way in to understanding a teenage boy with autism, try Atypical, the new Netflix series. It's had a bit of flack from some in the autism community for not using actors or writers with autism. I enjoyed watching it though, particularly as I recognised some traits in my (much younger) son and felt it would prepare me a little for the next decade. And it's about much more than autism - the storylines are interesting.


TEMPLE GRANDIN



Temple Grandin is the grande dame of the autism world. Her work in the sixties and beyond changed everything.

Her story is a bit long to tell here, so I'll recommend you watch the 2010 HBO biopic of her life which is simply called Temple Grandin and stars Clare Danes (available on Amazon). Here's the trailer:




And she's done a TED talk too.


It's worth noting that there's a truism about autism: 'If you've met one autistic person, you've met one autistic person.' 

Autism is a spectrum disorder so no two people are alike, so these recommendations give individual pictures of a version of ASD or Asperger's. The Temple Grandin TED talk is worth watching in particular for the way she discusses different brains and different types of thinkers and so is probably the most broad of all these recommendations.

Please do let me know of anything you've watched that you think should make the list.
This is likely to be a life's work for me x




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