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Autistic man featuring on BBC3 documentary

Alex Jameson

Published Date:
04 August 2009

 

By Richard Gladstone

 

An autistic man is featuring in a BBC fly-on-the-wall documentary about his condition.

 

Alex Jameson, 25, will be appearing alongside two other people in the film which charts their day-to-day lives as the live with Asperger’s Syndrome.

 

The documentary is called The Autistic Me and will be screened on BBC3 at 9pm next Tuesday (August 11).
 

Alex’s mother Peggy, who lives in Bexhill, said: “The BBC put out feelers on a website I was looking at about autism. It was looking for people interested in taking part in a documentary.

 

“I sent off an email after speaking with Alex and the next day the film crew were at the door.
 

“They did lots of filming around Hastings and Bexhill, including shots of Alex playing pool, walking on Bexhill beach and meeting with a young lady in Brighton. Crews also filmed him at work.
 

“The programme is all about how young adults with Asperger’s and how the cope with the condition.”
 

Asperger’s Syndrome is a form of autism, which is a lifelong disability that affects how a person makes sense of the world, processes information and relates to other people.
 

It is mostly a hidden disability in that you cannot tell that someone has the condition from their outward appearance.
 

People with the syndrome sometimes find it difficult to express themselves emotionally and socially. For example, they may have difficulty understanding gestures, facial expressions or tone of voice.

 

Many people with the condition are sociable but have difficulty with initiating and sustaining social relationships, which can make them very anxious.
 

They have difficulty knowing when to start or end a conversation and choosing topics to talk about.
 

People with Asperger’s Syndrome can have difficulty with social imagination. This can include difficulty in understanding or interpreting other peoples thoughts, feelings or actions.
 

Those with the condition people may have rules and rituals which they insist upon sticking to. For example walking the same way to school.
 

Mrs Jameson said her son, who works at BeSure Security Systems in Battle Road, St Leonards, was diagnosed with the condition when he was 12.
 

She said: “People do not know they have it usually until they are older, sometimes not until they reach their 50s.
 

“Alex was diagnosed after there were behavioural issues when he was at school.
 

“Awareness of Asperger’s is increasing more and more. Alex has a mild form and went to Filsham Valley, Hastings College and did training with Tressell Training.
 

“He also volunteers for the Alzheimer’s Society and Age Concern in Hastings.”

 

Source:   http://www.worthingherald.co.uk/hastingsnews/Autistic-man-featuring-on-BBC3.5522300.jp

 

Last Night’s Television: The Autistic Me, BBC3

By Tom Sutcliffe
Wednesday, 12 August 2009

 

Tom’s mum was worried about him. “Since puberty he’s become much more aggressive, much more violent..” she explained. “He doesn’t seem to care now who he upsets… he seems to have lost all his compassion for people.” “Congratulations, my dear, you’ve got a teenager,” I thought, but the flippancy wouldn’t sustain for long.

 

There were aspects of Tom that will have looked familiar to anyone with teenage children – the shoegazing withdrawal, the early-morning torpor, the seething fury at the lightest parental guidance – but in Tom all these aspects were turned up to 11. Tom is autistic, one of three young men on the autistic spectrum whose problems with growing up were detailed in Matt Rudge’s film The Autistic Me, and he was not having a happy time when filming was underway.

 

Oli, 23 years old and with a high-functioning form of autism, appeared more cheerful, a charming type set at just a slight angle to the ordinary world, but enough of one to make it tricky for him to find a job, which was his dearest wish. Alex, at 24, did have a part-time place at a security firm, but didn’t have a girlfriend, and was hoping that an online dating site might fill that gap in his life.

 

All three were very different – individuals, not representatives of a syndrome. But they each had one thing in common – protective mothers understandably nervous that the world would not look as lovingly on their children as they did. And in Tom’s case, you couldn’t help but wonder whether this might be part of the problem.

 
“Mum always treats me like a baby,” he muttered at one point, the words emerging from behind the protective curtain of hair he kept pulling across his face, “… but when I, like, do serious things, like have fights with my Dad, that’s when my Mum talks to me like an older person… she says, like, complicated words and things like that.” 
 
It seemed possible that the complicated words were what he longed for and the fights with his Dad were just a means to an end. In Tom’s bedroom, his mother fondly pulled out a childhood stuffed toy, implying that it was still part of his life, but when he went off to begin weekly boarding, he hadn’t taken it with him and he snorted significantly when he read his mother’s letter saying that it would be waiting on his bed when he returned. Like a lot of teenagers, he longed for love to relax its grip a bit. 
 
Tom seemed finally to have got the independence he craved, but Oli’s search was more frustrating. When a temporary job stamping books at the British Library ended, a social worker was called in to help him find a new one. “I see myself as an actor who’s trying to exploit his wild talent,” he said – not altogether helpfully – before getting sidetracked into a discussion of the word “pleb”.

 
Meanwhile, Alex, who has Asperger’s syndrome, had got a response on his dating website and was preparing for his first meeting with Kirsty, a young woman who also had autism. Alex’s mother tried to manage his expectations, without too much success. “Dear Kirsty, I would love to share my life with you” was how Alex replied in his very first email to her. One can only hope that the resulting first date wasn’t quite as excruciating to experience as it was to watch – a kind of competition in social awkwardness. 
 
Tellingly, the participants themselves seemed to feel it had gone quite well, though Kirsty’s method of sharing this neatly demonstrated the problems she has to deal with daily. She pulled out a small box of “face cards” – common facial expressions subtitled for those who find it hard to read human nuance – and displayed the grinning face that represented “happy”. 
 
http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/reviews/last-nights-television-the-autistic-me-bbc3brsend-in-the-dogs-itv1-1770631.html 

 

The Autistic Me

At last: TV tackles autism without being worthy and po-faced. The results are terrific

 

Sam Wollaston

The Guardian, Wednesday 12 August 2009

  • Alex, who has Asperger’s syndrome, features in The Autistic Me. Photograph: Wesley Pollitt/BBC/Firecracker Films

 

There’s nothing worse than an awkward date. I’ve had a few tricky ones in my time, but nothing quite like Alex. Alex, who’s 24, met Kirsty on the internet, and now they’re going to meet in person for the first time. He puts on deodorant and sunglasses, and then his mum Peggy drops him off at the cafe. He’ll call her when he’s finished, he says.

 
Kirsty turns up. She seems lovely. To be honest, Alex isn’t that fussy. When he was filling in the form for the dating site, he said that he’d take anyone of any religion, ethnic group, language, hair colour, profession. She could be up to six foot five inches tall. The only thing he didn’t want was a smoker – but then he admitted that if she did smoke, he’d put up with it. He would like to meet someone for a relationship, companionship, to have a family and to go bowling with.R
 
Read Article in Full: 
http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2009/aug/12/the-autistic-me-tv-review

 

Autism Care Provider Reacts to BBC TV Documentary ‘The Autistic Me’

 
LONDON, August 12 /PRNewswire/ — Commenting on last night’s BBC Three documentary which followed the lives of three young people living with Autism and Asperger syndrome (‘The Autistic Me’, BBC Three, 9pm, 11th August 2009), Lesa Walton – Care & Development Director of specialist Autism care provider Brookdale Care – said today:  

 
“The programme makers and especially the three young people living with Autism and Asperger syndrome featured in the documentary are to be congratulated on aiding public understanding of Autism and associated Autistic Spectrum Conditions (ASC), which affect one in every hundred people in the UK.  

 

“As the documentary showed, three of the biggest challenges that people living with ASC face are the transition from adolescence to adulthood, social integration and acceptance and finding employment.  

 
“It was commendable, therefore, that the programme highlighted not only the importance to people living with ASC of having structure and routine in any job, but also the issues surrounding employment opportunities for those living with ASC.  

 
“The programme noted the praiseworthy work of the National Autistic Society in finding Oli, one of the young men featured, a temporary job in the British Library. What is needed now is more consistent support nationally from the education and care services to enable more people living with ASC to find the employment that they find rewarding.  

 
“Brookdale Care hopes that the documentary ‘The Autistic Me’ will help bring this about by raising the awareness of the immense contribution that so many people living with ASC can make, and dispelling the myths that still surround Autism and Asperger syndrome.”  

 
You can watch ‘The Autistic Me’ again on the BBC iplayer: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00m5jb4/The_Autistic_Me/ 

 
For more information call +44(0)207-819-6268 or click: http://www.brookdalecare.co.uk/autism-news/article/608/The-Autistic-MeDistributed by PR Newswire on behalf of Brookdale Care

http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/cgi/news/release?id=263348



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