Monday, 12 April 2010

Young, Autistic & Stagestruck

After dealing with autism all day, watching it as my evening's entertainment is often the last thing I want to do.

However, I'm so glad I was cajoled into watching Young, Autistic and Stagestruck (Channel 4, Mondays 8pm).

The series follows nine autistic youngsters through their attempt to stage a variety show at a prestigious London theatre.

Funny and heart-breaking in equal measure, it was compulsive viewing, particularly for us as ASD parents.

What was so uplifting was seeing so many scenarios that are commonplace to our lives, but usually happen behind closed doors and are never aired on TV: the tantrumming, the sulks, the shouting, the hyperactivity, the swearing, the smearing poo, the rudeness and the odd behaviour, ....the sheer strangeness that is normality for a family living with autism.

Flicking through reviews of the programme, the word voyeuristic kept cropping up: this seems more a reflection of people's discomfort with autistic people and how they behave rather than a true representation of the programme, which was pretty sensitively handled.

What was particularly heartwarming was seeing the group grow in cohesion, the performers grow in confidence and the brave (!) directors' confidence grow in this unique bunch of kids and the quirky humour which ensued.

Can't wait for next week's episode!


  1. I missed it, I can't believe I missed it. Am going to get to an iPlayer tommorrow. Feedback from other ASD parents I know is good though:) Jen.

  2. Hi Rachel, I am from the press team at the National Autistic Society. Came across your blog whilst searching for people's feedback on last night's programme (which we were involved with) Really pleased to hear your feedback - which echoes a lot of what is being said on our facebook page. I also saw the details of your art project and would really like to know more, and see if there is anything we could do to help promote it.
    Couldn't work out how to email you directly so thought I'd leave a comment. If you email press[at] and mark it for my attention it would be great to hear from you! :)

  3. wow rachel, thanks for this. I can't believe I missed it!!!! Will Watch it next week.


  4. I watched most of it. I thought it was a fantastic programme. I often work on creative writing projects with people with autism and am part of an arts organisation that runs similar projects to the one shown in the programme. So it was particularly interesting from that perspective.

  5. I too saw it and thought it was a pretty good representation of the different ranges that the diagnosis 'autism' covers. Sadly in our experience, most people we come across seem to think of autism as the RainMan (showing my age here!), our little man I think would more fall into Ben's catagory. I am hooked now, and found it a great programme, if not a little scary as it really has made me wonder what the future may be like for my son, I think it was hearing Ben saying he hated 'having this thing inside him' words that have echo'd round our house before now.

  6. If you like the UK show- Young, Autistic & Stagestruck, you will love the film- Autism: The Musical. . It's a magical, award-winning documentary. I think the UK show is based largely on the work of Elaine Hall, creator of The Miracle Project – the Los Angeles-based theater program for children with special needs, featured in Autism: The Musical.

  7. Hi, well be sensible, well-all described


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