Disco dancing, musical brilliance and spectacular singing – The culmination of BBC Three’s Autistic Season
21/05/2010 7 Comments
Following initial documentaries looking into personal battles with autism both academically and socially, production companies are now showing viewers slightly more positive aspects of it’s related disorders.
Knowledge of not only autistic behaviour but also the spectrum is limited, meaning numerous difficulties continually felt in daily life cannot be identified by physical reactions alone.
This sense of invisibility can naturally make things difficult for those who don’t understand which makes spreading awareness important, something that broadcasters are now doing consistently through various media forms.Despite an influx of books and journals explaining how people on the spectrum approach life, it is television that succeeds with a power to attract viewers in vast amounts which can therefore educate those who are curious.
This can only show promise for society and for those who will now be understood better by their peers, making BBC Three’s specialist season worth any amount of money or time spent on production.
From spirited beginnings with The Autistic Me – One Year On, there have been plenty of informative and intriguing moments to comment on but more importantly each programme should prove a point. Even though autism may seem slightly daunting, those with it are similar to anybody else.
Surely there’s nothing wrong with seeing everything differently. If anything, it can make life exciting by looking at new perspectives.
Everybody has their own talents so let’s embrace those of Carly, James and Martin alongside a few incredibly skilled individuals who excel musically.
Autism, Disco and Me
In this post where I’ll be summing up two broadcasts, Autism, Disco and Me was the Beeb’s third documentary in their outstanding series which featured 10-year-old James Hobley.
Before a love of dance manifested, there wasn’t much about life that interested the youngster.
All he needed to bring happiness was his cats of which any quiet moment was spent with, this providing affection as there wasn’t much time spent around people during early years of childhood.
Further issues regarding lack of speech and reading ability only held him back from developing more, something that would soon change.
After many years of unavoidable isolation, it was taking up disco dancing locally which drastically began improving how James viewed everything around him.
Enjoying a hobby that proved fruitful in terms of winning awards and bought critical acclaim, recreational success was soon matched by academic achievement as new found confidence manifested itself with poor communication skills improving greatly.
The cameras focused on his achievements as many problems in life were overcome at an early age, just by watching it’s clear to see there are brighter times ahead. But how far can he go?
Many could say that enough has been done by acquiring skills which will meet future educational needs, but this particular ‘lord of the dance’ has set his focus on more goals.
Wanting people to know him for dazzling moves and not for being Autistic, clearly this isn’t the last we’ll hear of one certain Mr Hobley (later a Britain’s Got Talent finalist in 2011).
Hopefully everything he ever desires becomes an achievement, offering proof from my earlier comments on anybody being capable of chasing their dreams.
So, how could this ground breaking series conclude? Autistic Superstars would showcase a wide variety of talents and identities, producing not only great viewing but also moments of real human kindness.
Even though there are negatives surrounding autism, inspirational moments often occur that can drastically change public opinion and break down boundaries as mentioned earlier.
What was shown over a fortnight couldn’t have proved this point any better as varying musical styles were bought together for one purpose only, something which would aim to showcase talent against adversity. Fantastically, the programme more than achieved it’s key objective.
Led by British TV and radio personality Reggie Yates, there was an emphasis on both singing and instrumental performance from four extremely talented youngsters that would build towards an exhibition of outstanding talent at London’s Riverside Studios.
Vocals would come from Carly (23) and Martin (18), a move that is crucial for social development because making general conversation can be very tricky in everyday situations.
Such difficulties with communicating are fairly common throughout development which causes a look of shyness or misunderstood ignorance, though repetition of lyrics has provided an avenue to emphasise emotion through song.
Musically, accompaniment was provided by guitarist Dafydd (15) and John (11) on drums.
Despite being so young with no experience of playing at large venues, any fear was kept firmly deep inside their conscious as consistent performances beyond their years have earned rave reviews from those who have seen them play.
Combined, it was hard imagining how those involved would come together due to rigid boundary issues regarding personal space.
How wrong can somebody be hey?
With vocal coach Jo Price making sure everything was perfect for the big performance, viewers were took on a journey of trial and tribulation as training was carried out which made sure no disasters would happen during live performance.
Occasionally issues surfaced during discussion about track choices that could have made things difficult, though everything got treated with an admirable amount of careful respect.
Personally this is fantastic to see.
For a condition so hard to understand, it’s great knowing how some people work through initial confusion in search of making a real difference.
Although there were moments when worry came from both Reggie and Jo, persistence finally proved perfect as Autistic Superstars concluded by showing how everybody didn’t only perform live but also forgo any social fears to collaborate together.
Since broadcast the documentary by many of my own autistic peers, something that must show how everybody involved must be commended for their hard work. Of course it isn’t just one production which inspires such a reaction, but rounding off such an inspiring series this way only goes to show money has been well spent.
Congratulations must be offered as a national broadcaster really have done a strong nation very proud indeed.