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      Depression, Mental Health and Crisis Support   06/04/2017

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LancsLad

The Undateables Opinions

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LancsLad   

Did anyone watch the first of a series of 3 on Channel 4 which included one individual with Asperger's and his attempts through a specialist dating agency to find a partner? If you did what were your thoughts?

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Tally   

I just watched this on 4OD.

 

Richard's first date seemed to be going quite well until she suddenly left without really giving any explanation. It seemed to be something to do with him eating her chips, even though she had actually finished eating anyway. Maybe she was overcome by all the deodorant! The second date also seemed to go well and the conversation flowed. The rowing/hoeing confusion was quite funny! It's a shame he was so focussed on a relationship that he wasn't willing to pursue the friendship and see what came of it. But maybe there was more to it than what we saw.

 

I thought it was also a fairly sympathetic portrayal of Asperger's. They talked about his inflexibility, but didn't make it look just like him being awkward, they explained about the anxieties he has with changing plans and trying new things, for example, when he agreed to travel a longer distance.

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LancsLad   

I had a lot of empathy for Richard, and what I was left feeling that as the series progresses he might be one of the harder cases to find a match for. In this way I think the programme did a good job of highlighting the issues around the condition, though they did refer to it as a disability. I think on the two dates Richard did a very good job on the whole. I think if I had any advice for him and anyone in that situation is that trying to find someone who matches the majority of our expectations is virtually impossible and he was lacking in a bit of flexibility in this respect.

 

I was not too sure as why he didn't follow up on the second date. Tally like you I feel he had a view that it was love at first sight or nothing at all. In contrast the Lad with Tourettes was simply happy to let things develop as a friendship and see where it took them.

 

Likewise I felt it did a fairly good job of explaining things in an empathetic way. I think it also did a good job of exploring the relationship with his mother which I am sure will be of interest to anyparents who want to give it a go and view it from the internet.

 

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-undateables/4od

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Was it explained in the programme why Richard had not had any dates in 20 years, and how he found dates #2 and #3 after such a long hiatus?

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1. He might not have been bothered before

2. He used the dating agency

3. I personally think that at least 50% of the reason was his mother - I think she wanted him to be looked after, he seemed to have a very strong attachment to her so maybe she wanted him to have some independence or something - and he seemed happy enough to have a go with the dating agency so he must have fancied a shot at it himself.

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Tally   

Yes, it was explained in the programme. The programme followed 3 people with disabilities when they approached a dating agency. There was Richard with Asperger's, a young lad with Tourette's, and a young woman with a brittle bone condition who was very short and used a wheelchair.

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LancsLad   

I likewise think there was a good point here and that is how this symbiotic relationship had developed with his mother and in the long run was it a healthy one. I think any parents out there will be well advised to look at the programme and draw their own conclusions based on their imediate reactions to both Richard and his mother. I think it did raise the point of how much mothering is too much mothering?

 

I hoped by posting in General Discussion I would draw in a lot of NT parental opinions on the programme. What we have had so far is from one half of the forum population. I would be really interested in NT opinions on this whilst it is still available on 4 on Demand. I think it is easy to draw conclusions on our parenting techniques when they apply them to children far more difficult when they apply to adults. The reality is that todays child population of Aspies will be tomorrows young adults and Aspie generations beyond and we should think about that.

 

I think a weakness of the forum in general is that Aspies tend to respond to AS type posts and NT's to posts about parenting and schools etc... This is one post and a media example which applies to all of us and as such should provide the basis for a very interesting discussion. The other conclusion is are we to think this programme was all about Richard and the issues were all his and there was no NT element present whatsoever. If this was the case are all Aspies basically flawed and all NT's lovely adorable people who give so much for so little? Need to watch the programme to possibly understand where I am coming from.

 

Food for thought.

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Kathryn   

I refuse to watch it. The title was enough to put me off. Voyeuristic and freakshow were two of the words which came to mind. Amazing what now passes for entertainment in this country. That's the only comment I'm making.

 

On your last point on the nature of this forum, Lancslad, you may be right about the separation However this forum, originally set up by a parent mainly for parents, used to be a place where so called NT's and those with AS, or who like to identify as having AS, freely contributed to all discussions and nobody really questioned which

camp you were in. Increasingly that's not the case. Probably a topic for another discussion though.

 

K x

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I wasn't going to watch it either - I got dragged in the room to give an opinion and ended up watching the rest of it :rolleyes:

 

On your last point on the nature of this forum, Lancslad, you may be right about the separation However this forum, originally set up by a parent mainly for parents, used to be a place where so called NT's and those with AS, or who like to identify as having AS, freely contributed to all discussions and nobody really questioned which camp you were in. Increasingly that's not the case. Probably a topic for another discussion though.

 

I asked someone what they thought about LancsLad's points about this - and they had a few interesting comments as to why they wouldn't want to join in with certain conversations - or use the forum at all - maybe I'll ask 'em to put it into words if someone does start a post about this... or maybe not since they refuse to join and anything written would be in my name :lol:

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justine1   

I agree with everything Kathryn has said. I would not watch a programme about dating so why would I watch it because it has people with disabilities? The title is really horrid!!

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I think despite the title - which I agree is not great - the attitudes towards disabilities in the show were quite positive, it seemed that they were just trying to get across that these were just people trying to go about their lives like everyone else - including having the right to date people if they wished.

 

As I said before, I wasn't ever intending to watch the show in the first place - but I think in a screwed up way society needs shows like that to show people that just because someone has a problem doesn't mean they aren't a person with feelings, hopes, lives.

 

I think it gives people some point of reference to see similarities in their own lives like "oh I've dated and I know it isn't always easy to find someone", so they can see that people can have the same goals and desires whether they have a disability or not.

 

The danger is when the shows can be treading a very fine line between using people and promoting them - I don't know which side of that line this show is on and because I won't be watching the next 2 in the series I won't have a better idea about that.

 

But I do think that people need to see people who are different to them in some way so that disabilities, conditions, disorders and illnesses aren't some secret thing that everyone is scared of - and instead things that people can understand and maybe accept, and by understanding they become less scared of the difference - assuming they watch the shows in the first place that is :)

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LancsLad   

There is another post on the forum relating to an article on Aspberger's in the worplace and attitudes. The interesting thing is to look at the comments on the Guardian website on the article as they come from a variety of backgrounds. Do they help raise awareness in a positive way, thats for people to decide for themselves? I would also ask are some media genrers more acceptable than others?

 

I think there are a number of issues here and they relate to the realities of life and do we want to engage with them or not. At times engaging with issues often puts us into an uncomfortable position, but should this awkwardness be a reason to retract rathe than challenge our perceptions.

 

In many ways I would have thought anything to do with the autistic spectrum should be of equal interest to individuals with an autistic condition as it would be for the parents of children in a similar position, if it is not is there an underlying issue here in respect to this programme.

 

Do we have a culture which see Asperger's as a child issue and nothing to do with adult life? If this is the case then people like myself on this forum as a memebr of the adult Aspie community and individuals such as Richard on this TV programme pose a real problem. As a life long condition AS for example gives us no choice in the matter we have to simply try and get on with things as best as we can. Is this fact however very difficult for many parents to take? Does it leave them in a position where they feel disempowered to fix things in a child. To have eventually the perfect child they wished for in the first place?

 

I know in some ways the programme offered the opportunity to look in at a relationship between a mother and her son and as Darkshine has said it gives us a point of reference. For me this was the interesting element in the story. If we are not open minded about these things and would rather self perpetuate a single belief by refusing to look at alternative viewpoints we are in danger of marginalising individuals. To be honest as an adult who could see so many elements of myself in Richards behaviour patterns I was not left feeling I was being voyeuristic at his expense, rather I felt real empathy for his position though I felt he was at times a little inflexible. The people with AS who have seen the programme have all said it was not the 'freakshow' others have presumed it to be, if we can endorse it I wonder what the problem is? Maybe it is in the fact that something with an adult with AS in it be describe at all as a 'freakshow' at all, and that does leave me uncomfortable and feeling marginalised.

 

To be very honest in the last 24 hours I have considered stopping making contributions on this forum, maybe the forum is best left in its formative state as a place for parents to share their own anxieties and guilt, is it a case that adults such as myself simply represent an element of the spectrum which the silent majority would rather believe did not exist. if some of those attitudes permeate onto this forum what chance have we in the real world?

 

A few honest thoughts.

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Lyndalou   

I refuse to watch it. The title was enough to put me off. Voyeuristic and freakshow were two of the words which came to mind. Amazing what now passes for entertainment in this country. That's the only comment I'm making.

 

On your last point on the nature of this forum, Lancslad, you may be right about the separation However this forum, originally set up by a parent mainly for parents, used to be a place where so called NT's and those with AS, or who like to identify as having AS, freely contributed to all discussions and nobody really questioned which

camp you were in. Increasingly that's not the case. Probably a topic for another discussion though.

 

K x

Perhaps it should have been made explicitly clear from the outset that this forum is mainly for parents and added to that, parents who only believe themselves to be non-autisics. It perhaps should also have been made explicitly clear that the only autistics who can contribute are those who do not share their life experience to help parents see a way forward out of the darkness and that the autistics who do contribute have proof that they are so because God forbid that any of us are intelllgent enough to put two and two together and realise that their own, at times awful experiences equate to having a spectrum condition!

 

With regards to the programme, anyone who thinks that this society is anything other than intolerant of differences of any kind is living in cloud cuckoo land. What good does it do to bury your head in the sand and be indignant?

 

Someone who 'likes' to say they have AS.

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Sally44   

Although I did not like the title, I think TV is TV and has to sell its programmes to the mass population.

 

Although for some it maybe a freak show, but many others watching [like us], it is for information and interest. This is a major area of concern for parents of children with SEN. Probably as important as education/work because it involves all aspects of your life. Social interaction and relationships. That is what humans are about.

 

The fact that his mum goes through a dress rehearsal of the date with Richard is good, but again shows how much support he needs.

Why so much deorderant?? Did he not really know how much was enough? Or could he be using an overpowering perfume that he likes, to help with cope with and block out other sensory information?? The reason I wonder about this is because the psychiatrist told me to use a strong perfume that my son liked to help him cope with going out of the house. And it seemed to help.

As a parent I would love my own son to have enough social skills to go on dates, and to find friends and partners – even a partner for life. Because it is such a worry that you have. You don’t worry so much about your other kids, because you expect them to have the skills to just get on with life. But for a child with Special Needs it is something that you always worry about. That they will be alone and that they will vulnerable and preyed upon by unscrupulous people.

Watching him start to eat Dawns dinner was awful because he was not picking up on how much she did not like it. Firstly he did not have any dinner and so eating Dawns could indicate a potential mean streak?? Then he took a chip and denied he had took it and said he would never lie. He did this in a serious kind of way, instead of using a joking voice. So Dawn could have taken that as an indication that he could easily tell lies. Humour requires timing and delivery which someone the spectrum may struggle to achieve and may get misunderstood.

Finally Richard was not picking up on Dawns facial expression or words that clearly showed she did not like this behaviour. But not understanding this smaller social rule of boundaries, she may have subconsciously been worried about what other social boundaries he may cross without realising it, especially physical ones??

His voice and language used is also obvious that he has difficulties. Not knowing what a Café Latte was shows that he does not know everyday words.

Also mild learning difficulties is a totally different thing to someone who may have very poor social skills. That is why I am trying SO hard for my son to have those social and relationship lessons taught as part of his education.

But I think the whole process is getting him out socially, so as long as he has some good times, and does not get depressed about not getting 2nd dates for the majority of the time, then it could be positive for him.

Also him showing his muscles just went on too long. The French woman was saying words like “im impressed, amazing, OMG” etc – but in a way that I think NT’s would recognise that she also meant enough was enough. But using these words just encouraged Richard to keep showing her his muscles. So he had no idea when to stop.

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LancsLad   

Sally you make some very good observations about Ricahrd in the programme. You said early on in your post that the fact that his mum went through a dress rehersal showed how much support he needed. personally the programme raised a big question here. The realtionship with his mother is very important to Richard and I suspect it might be very important to his mother, from memory wasn't the case that his father and her partner had died some years previously. I think some of the early implications that he was looking for an older woman for his dates rather than one age equivalent was a precursor from the producers to direct us into asking questions as the viewers why was this the case?

 

My own reaction was that this was a very symbiotic relationship and that as such I was not surprised that at the end of the programme he turned down further opporunities to meet his second date who in the filming seemed positive for this to be the case.

 

For me the show raised the issue of an adult with Asperger's becoming 'needy' as an individual as opposed to having needs. I personally felt Richard was 'needy' and as a result possibly looking for a replacement mother figure rather than having 'needs' and trying to find a partner who might understand them. I think these two positions are a world apart. If there was some truth in this observastion I think it raises questions for us all on how both as individuals with AS and parents of them we develop healthy and progressive relationships which focus on finding strategies in dealing with individual needs, as opposed to to having unhealthy relationships which are focused on supporting our needs from a selfish perspective the result meaning we become 'needy' and as such moving outside the boundaries of this parental/child relationship become very hard to do for all aprties concerned.

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There is another post on the forum relating to an article on Aspberger's in the worplace and attitudes. The interesting thing is to look at the comments on the Guardian website on the article as they come from a variety of backgrounds. Do they help raise awareness in a positive way, thats for people to decide for themselves? I would also ask are some media genrers more acceptable than others?

 

I think there are a number of issues here and they relate to the realities of life and do we want to engage with them or not. At times engaging with issues often puts us into an uncomfortable position, but should this awkwardness be a reason to retract rathe than challenge our perceptions.

 

In many ways I would have thought anything to do with the autistic spectrum should be of equal interest to individuals with an autistic condition as it would be for the parents of children in a similar position, if it is not is there an underlying issue here in respect to this programme.

 

Do we have a culture which see Asperger's as a child issue and nothing to do with adult life? If this is the case then people like myself on this forum as a memebr of the adult Aspie community and individuals such as Richard on this TV programme pose a real problem. As a life long condition AS for example gives us no choice in the matter we have to simply try and get on with things as best as we can. Is this fact however very difficult for many parents to take? Does it leave them in a position where they feel disempowered to fix things in a child. To have eventually the perfect child they wished for in the first place?

 

I know in some ways the programme offered the opportunity to look in at a relationship between a mother and her son and as Darkshine has said it gives us a point of reference. For me this was the interesting element in the story. If we are not open minded about these things and would rather self perpetuate a single belief by refusing to look at alternative viewpoints we are in danger of marginalising individuals. To be honest as an adult who could see so many elements of myself in Richards behaviour patterns I was not left feeling I was being voyeuristic at his expense, rather I felt real empathy for his position though I felt he was at times a little inflexible. The people with AS who have seen the programme have all said it was not the 'freakshow' others have presumed it to be, if we can endorse it I wonder what the problem is? Maybe it is in the fact that something with an adult with AS in it be describe at all as a 'freakshow' at all, and that does leave me uncomfortable and feeling marginalised.

 

A few honest thoughts.

 

Perhaps it should have been made explicitly clear from the outset that this forum is mainly for parents and added to that, parents who only believe themselves to be non-autisics. It perhaps should also have been made explicitly clear that the only autistics who can contribute are those who do not share their life experience to help parents see a way forward out of the darkness and that the autistics who do contribute have proof that they are so because God forbid that any of us are intelllgent enough to put two and two together and realise that their own, at times awful experiences equate to having a spectrum condition!

 

With regards to the programme, anyone who thinks that this society is anything other than intolerant of differences of any kind is living in cloud cuckoo land. What good does it do to bury your head in the sand and be indignant?

 

Someone who 'likes' to say they have AS.

 

 

 

Basically this is just out of proportion - this forum was created approximately 10 years ago (give or take I can't be bothered to check but I have seen posts from 2003 so....anyway approx 10 years). Obviously over the course of this time things are gonna change. There's no banner saying that only certain types of people can join - check out the main intro page:

 

http://www.asd-forum.org.uk/

 

Quote "The aim of this forum is to provide help, support and friendship to people whose life has been touched in one way or another by Autistic Spectrum Disorder (commonly known as ASD), Asperger or any other forms of Autism."

 

Seems clear enough - my life has been touched by ASD's - so I have a right to be here - and so does anyone else, whether they be a parent or whatever.

 

Lynda - I don't think Katherine was trying to make you feel like you are not welcome here, I think she was just explaining things and how the forum has changed - that's fine - its been around a long time now, and as Lancslad points out a fair amount of those teens back then will have become adults now... there's whole generations growing up all the time and of course they should be able to use the forum too. Even poeple who do not have a diagnosis have a right to be here as autism has touched their lives also.

 

Now to Lancslad....

 

I'm not sure why this topic has bothered you - or why it should matter that "NT's" may have different views from "AS's" - but that may just be the case that people see things differently.

 

This forum has several sub-forums - I personally steer well away from the following:

 

Education

Medication/diet/vitamins/supplements/remedies

Resources

ASD related conditions

 

I steer clear because I have no interest in meds/diet etc.

 

I steer clear because one glance at most of the topics in education - I realise that mainly I don't have a clue (I take a glance at any of the many acronyms and think - I'll leave that for someone who knows about it). I also do not have children so I mainly stay out of those topics - unless it is something that I identify with (this is not often).

 

I have maybe looked at the resources pages half a dozen times - again - not because of a divide or anything - but because I'd rather look on google :oops:

 

And ASD related conditions - I'm not there much either - :lol: but again not for any other reason than personal preferences and interests etc.

 

 

I don't steer clear of these because of a great NT/ASD divide - why on earth should the one thing that brought us all here be the same thing that ends up dividing us?

 

And I find that when this kind of thing is brought up it just gets everyone's back up cuz suddenly its bee pointed out.

 

Personally I think some of the best discussions are the ones where everyone gets involved - but when I'm talking to people on here I don't think "oh they don't have AS so they don't have a clue" or "they only have AS so they don't have a clue".

 

Also you say that the other post about the guardian article - you ask does it raise awareness in a positive way? (you've mentioned this before somewhere else as I recall)

 

Not every post on here is about that - you got people going through crisis and problems with their kids lives and at those points it doesn't matter if people think negatively or positively about ASD's - all they want is help or advice or just someone who gets what they are saying.

 

To be very honest in the last 24 hours I have considered stopping making contributions on this forum, maybe the forum is best left in its formative state as a place for parents to share their own anxieties and guilt, is it a case that adults such as myself simply represent an element of the spectrum which the silent majority would rather believe did not exist. if some of those attitudes permeate onto this forum what chance have we in the real world?

 

A few honest thoughts.

 

Good question - but does that mean that we all have to go away? And do you realise how many times that very point has been brought up in one way or another?

 

It was said to me - in round about ways - so that the only conclusion I could draw was that because I've been diagnosed as an adult that I should just sod off as I don't fit within certain people's criteria.

 

I decided to ignore that - because there are adults who have been diagnosed - there are also adults that aren't diagnosed (for their own personal reasons and that is fine by me), there are others who know for a fact that have AS but don't see the point in a dx as it won't achieve anything.

 

Well as far as I'm concerned some of these people are really cool people with vast amounts of knowledge and insight to add to this forum.

 

In addition they provide an insight for the people who are "NT" parents because one day their kid will be an adult and they might have a better insight of what that is like by hearing about "our" difficulties, our successes, the things we find hard and how we work our way round that. There's a whole wealth of experience out there for the taking and this works both ways because one day some of us might have kids and the valuable info from the parents on here is incredible.

 

So I don't think we should sit here highlighting differences or getting pissed that people don't do what we'd want them to do in an ideal world.

 

I think instead we unite under a common goal.

 

And as for positive portrayal - maybe there should be a new forum heading for that very thing - so many people have pointed out negatives - why not have a place for successes for good things, for absolute mind-blowing achievements and the stories where kids have gone from living in their worlds to living in the rest of the world and they've done it well and actually say "yeah - here you are - this is why some of us are proud to be the way we are - and this is what they did!!"

 

And this isn't just "a few thoughts" this is my total opinion, I've spent my entire life feeling like an outcast, like something to be scraped off a shoe - until I came here - and sure, it's happened a couple of times, but in the main, 99% of the people I've interacted with have been incredible people that I'm glad I joined that long year ago when I felt that was it - I'd been diagnosed and believed my life was over - I said at the time, it was like a death penalty - and the people on this forum have proved to me that it isn't and I am very grateful for that.

 

And more so because this forum is just like the world - not everyone talks about everything - not everyone is the same - not everyone is interested in the same things - and not everyone wants the same things.... Isn't it understandable that we are all different? - regardless of whether we have an ASD or are "NT"?

 

Darkshine

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LancsLad   

Darkshine thanks for bringing things back into perspective.

 

At one level I kind of subscribe to the viewpoint that everyone should be just left to get on with their own lives. In so, so many ways this is how I live 95% of the time. The other 5% is spent on this forum. The driving force for me to be on here is to try and help in the main young people with the condition. I as very aware of how frustrating it was to be a child and a teenager and have issues in my life which I failed to communicate, or my parents refused to listen to. As a result this frustration led to self harm and then suicide attempts, it should never have got that far and I know that I am not the only one who has been to these places in their life.

 

The thing which amazes me is in a social media world how few children or teenagers post on the forum. For me it feels like any experience and advice I might have for this group is only ever going to be potentially passed to them second hand at best. The reality of this leaves me so very, very frustrated. That frustration tends to manifest itself on the group I see as being the buffer zone, the parents. My feelings might be totally misplaced and as such I need to give them thought and modify my attitude if needed. The alternative is of course to restrict my forum behaviour to certain areas and darkshine I can see how this works.

 

I put my origonal post up about this programme because I felt it would provide a good reference point for many different views. I might have been right, I might have been wrong I am at the moment not too sure.

 

Best Wishes.

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Kathryn   

Thankyou Darkshine for responding to what I actually wrote and not attacking me for something I didn't say.

 

I think the negative responses below illustrate very well what I was saying. We have the "NT view" and even the "NT parent view" and the "AS view" - is it possible on this forum any more just to have a view as an individual, I wonder?

 

 

Do we have a culture which see Asperger's as a child issue and nothing to do with adult life? If this is the case then people like myself on this forum as a memebr of the adult Aspie community and individuals such as Richard on this TV programme pose a real problem. As a life long condition AS for example gives us no choice in the matter we have to simply try and get on with things as best as we can. Is this fact however very difficult for many parents to take? Does it leave them in a position where they feel disempowered to fix things in a child. To have eventually the perfect child they wished for in the first place?

 

I know in some ways the programme offered the opportunity to look in at a relationship between a mother and her son and as Darkshine has said it gives us a point of reference. For me this was the interesting element in the story. If we are not open minded about these things and would rather self perpetuate a single belief by refusing to look at alternative viewpoints we are in danger of marginalising individuals. To be honest as an adult who could see so many elements of myself in Richards behaviour patterns I was not left feeling I was being voyeuristic at his expense, rather I felt real empathy for his position though I felt he was at times a little inflexible. The people with AS who have seen the programme have all said it was not the 'freakshow' others have presumed it to be, if we can endorse it I wonder what the problem is? Maybe it is in the fact that something with an adult with AS in it be describe at all as a 'freakshow' at all, and that does leave me uncomfortable and feeling marginalised.

 

I still maintain the programme - or series- is designed to be a freakshow, and I'm looking at the whole of it, not just the part showing the autistic individual. That's how it was advertised - did anyone see the newspaper ads showing 6 people with various disfigurements? Can anyone be in any doubt that the hoped for public response would be "eeugh"! followed by curiosity? I may be wrong about the actual programme. I chose not to watch this, but that was an individual decision about what I choose to entertain me in the evenings, and I don't see why I should be attacked for it - I don't condemn anyone else for making a different choice and I don't see why this should become an NT vs AS issue . A few people with AS liked the programme - what does that prove? My daughter, who has an AS diagnosis, had a similar reaction to me and refused to watch it. And no, not all programmes with autistic people in them could be described as freakshows - there have been some wonderful and sensitively made programmes over the years, featuring individuals with autism. Happy to engage in debate but please don't ascribe views to me I haven't expressed.

 

Perhaps it should have been made explicitly clear from the outset that this forum is mainly for parents and added to that, parents who only believe themselves to be non-autisics. It perhaps should also have been made explicitly clear that the only autistics who can contribute are those who do not share their life experience to help parents see a way forward out of the darkness and that the autistics who do contribute have proof that they are so because God forbid that any of us are intelllgent enough to put two and two together and realise that their own, at times awful experiences equate to having a spectrum condition!

 

 

Before throwing a wobbly, Lyndalou, maybe you should have gone back and looked at what I actually said? Where did I say that this forum was mainly for "parents who believe themselves to be non autistics". ??

 

What I said was, as Darkshine pointed out, was that this forum was set up by a parent. That's a fact. It was never intended to be exclusively for parents, as the front page blurb, which has remained the same over the years, indicates, and it never has been. There was a time when most of the active posters appeared to be parents, that's just the way things were. However what everyone liked about the forum was the way adults with AS, and parents who may or may not have AS, joined in discussions and respected each others' very different perspectives. As a parent with a newly diagnosed teenager who had trouble expressing how things were for her, I valued the chance to learn from adults who had AS. We also had a lot of fun at one time - there were lots of wacky light hearted off topic threads.

 

Now the balance seems to have shifted a bit and the majoriy of active posters appear to be adults with AS or seeking an AS diagnosis . Many of the general discussions I feel I can't contribute to because it appears that the poster is seeking contributions only from people with AS. In addition, some of the views expressed about "NT's" and "NT behaviour" are intolerant and even offensive and that never used to be the case. I am perhaps in a minority as I do not have AS and my child is now an adult, but I have been here 7 years and in the last few months I have begun to feel almost like an outsider when I read some of the threads.

 

This is just an observation so please don't attack me for it. All forums change over time and maybe this one is evolving into something different to what it used to be. Would be interested to hear other people's views.

 

K x

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LancsLad   

Kathryn appologies. Sometimes we have a lot on our plates and we might miss interperate what has been said or at least read it a certain way in which it was not initially intended. In such situations all we can do is say sorry, it is of course the choice of the individuals concerned to accept that appology or not.

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justine1   

Once again I agree Kathryn. I have not been on here as long as Kathryn but I do feel I come here less and less. My own view is not so much of the "great divide" but more about the fact there seems to be a "sheep" mentality(sorry to say) with many people agreeing with certain posts and viewpoints. In a sense only agreeing with what they want to hear and not taking on board anything else.

 

I guess I am lucky that at present I am not having any "problems" so don't need much advice and thats why I feel I should be able to come here and give advice. I surely must be doing something right as I have four boys(and now a girl as well) two of whom have ASD and things are going well. I feel I have some experince,maybe minimal to some but its something. I just can't seem to get my view across though people seem to take everything far too personally and don't seem willing to accept/try new or different things.

 

Just my opinion.

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LancsLad   

Justine is this the reality of anything in life that when participation gets beyond a critical mass level it becomes cultural and as such as you put it 'sheep' mentality becomes a dominant force? I think this is very different than for example the majority of individuals thinking in an individualistic way and reaching a similar conclusion.

 

As a new member in relative terms to the diagnosis and new to the forum I feel I try to bring something along which is fresh if not new as that is not always possible. The result is that a lot of topics might rotate as is the inevitable cycle. I would hope however that a factor is that through cyclical debate each time around the process the individuals who have been in it the longest find some new meanings and continue to contribute, in this way posts might contain debates at a number of healthy levels.

 

If experienced people choose to sit back and simply observe, then the quality of the forum will fail to improve and if anything attitudes might lead from frustration into a point of stagnation which does not benefit new people who arrive.

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justine1   

I get what you saying but it seems to always be the same individuals agreeing with one aspect and just wondered why this is. When I first joined it seemed more balanced in a sense,so when a discussion was opened you would get quite a good balance of negative and positive comments. There is no right or wrong answer just opinions but now I feel my opinion does'nt count. As I say it could just be me.

 

I still continue to post though but its just not the same. I post more now as I am on leave,but I am guessing I will "vanish" when I return to uni/work,prehaps only to return when I do need advice.

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the show is a crime against humanity, just because one has a disability doesnt mean that they arnt a beautiful person in there own right, its just cheap tv. all i can say is ###### you channel 4

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Kathryn   

Kathryn appologies. Sometimes we have a lot on our plates and we might miss interperate what has been said or at least read it a certain way in which it was not initially intended. In such situations all we can do is say sorry, it is of course the choice of the individuals concerned to accept that appology or not.

 

Apology accepted LancsLad, and I'm sorry for diverting this discussion down a somewhat different path!

 

 

K x.

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LancsLad   

To be honest I personaly feel any show on TV starts off from the position of being neautral. I know I do not have to agree with the line taken by the producers or even by the partcipants in it. The emotions I feel and the thoughts that any media item generate are my own and as such provide me with opportunities to learn both about what the programme is portraying and also importantly about myself. In this way the programme merely provides reference points.

 

The big question therefore for me is what reference points should be allowed on the TV in newspapers or in books. My own view is that in society when we start to censor reference points because we may not agree with them then we create an intollerent society and subversing opinions and pushing them underground often produces viewpoints which can become distorted from the reality of a situation through simple missinformation.

 

For me the programme last week simply provided a reference point in respect to an adult and his mother with a diagnosis for Asperger's syndrome and recorded a series of events in his life as he engaged with a dating agency and went on two dates. Personally I find there are not too many reference points in the media related to the autisctic spectrum which can act as starting points in exploring our own feelings and ideas on the forum. Without neautral reference points a lot of discussions on the forum become emotional and people can use a withdrawl technique of ''but my issues are unique you do not know what it is like to be in my or my childs life!" All we can then do as participants in the forum is to either try and justify our own lives to show they have comparable meanings, to agree wholehartedly with the origonal poster or to remain silence. In such situations we do feel the post was all about exerting control over a situation or to impose our views on others which leaves the forum feeling somewhat abused I guess.

 

I think that I would have been possible for us to look at a programme and come to the forum and be very positive about what it contained, we should be capable of independent thought. Does the fact that we believe the programme will be negative before we even engage with it highlight that what we are carrying around is a predisposition to be negative about the potential content of the programme. If this is the case I can understand why people might feel this way. If this is the case and then to decide not to engage with the programme to me tends to show a desire not to have elements in your life which might challenge your held beliefs. This I do find hard to understand, why would you have negative thoughts about something and not want to go into situations which might challenge them to look at a situation in a more positive light? This concept for me raises a key personal question, if this is how someone feels about a reference point why when they come onto the forum at a later date and ask for help should I try to help them by replying to their post, do they really want help or are they trying to be controlling and having simply a whinge at everyones expense.

 

Just my thoughts.

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Sally44   

Sally you make some very good observations about Ricahrd in the programme. You said early on in your post that the fact that his mum went through a dress rehersal showed how much support he needed. personally the programme raised a big question here. The realtionship with his mother is very important to Richard and I suspect it might be very important to his mother, from memory wasn't the case that his father and her partner had died some years previously. I think some of the early implications that he was looking for an older woman for his dates rather than one age equivalent was a precursor from the producers to direct us into asking questions as the viewers why was this the case?

 

My own reaction was that this was a very symbiotic relationship and that as such I was not surprised that at the end of the programme he turned down further opporunities to meet his second date who in the filming seemed positive for this to be the case.

 

For me the show raised the issue of an adult with Asperger's becoming 'needy' as an individual as opposed to having needs. I personally felt Richard was 'needy' and as a result possibly looking for a replacement mother figure rather than having 'needs' and trying to find a partner who might understand them. I think these two positions are a world apart. If there was some truth in this observastion I think it raises questions for us all on how both as individuals with AS and parents of them we develop healthy and progressive relationships which focus on finding strategies in dealing with individual needs, as opposed to to having unhealthy relationships which are focused on supporting our needs from a selfish perspective the result meaning we become 'needy' and as such moving outside the boundaries of this parental/child relationship become very hard to do for all aprties concerned.

 

But to some extent isn't everyone kind of looking for someone similar to their parent? Afterall that is what you are bought up with, that is what you know, that is what your values and beliefs have come from etc. Or, alternatively, for those that do not get along great with their parents, they tend to go for the exact opposite.

 

I don't think his mum was necessarily to blame if Richard was clingy and needy. The fact that Richard lived on his own proved that she had supported, and probably been the instigator of him moving out of the family home. She did say that Richard got very jealous of any relationship she had or attempted to have.

 

Richard was immature. He had little social skills or relationship skills. He also struggled with change. And I can imagine that he would get out of control if change was forced on him.

 

But it is also recognised that those on the spectrum tend to go for people older than themselves. My son prefers the company of older boys.

 

I think that alot of NTs also make the same mistake of looking for a replacement father or mother.

 

And for some on the spectrum, the first date is hard enough. To have to imagine another date, and something different to say or do, and for that relationship to move on, and move onto what - can all be very daunting.

 

I will tell you a conversation I had with my son some years ago, which was very funny, but also showed his lack of understanding.

 

Son: mum, where do babies come from?

Mum: [goes into some detail about reproductive parts and how they work and what you have to do to make a baby].

Son: Urgh, that sounds disgusting. I'm not doing that with you. You'll have to ask Dad.

Mum: :blink:

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Sally44   

Different people are on the forum for different reasons.

When I first joined the forum, I felt that there was an inner circle of members who had known eachother for years, and in some ways felt that I was intruding.

Since them there have been more and more new people joining, and some of the members that used to post seem to have disappeared.

I personally tend to spend most of my time in the Education forum.

Simply because what we experienced as a family with our son is so recent, that I feel I can give relevent advice to other parents with similar issues. I basically do not want other families to go through what we did and spend years trying to navigate through a system that nobody explains to them and where other people within the LA maybe working against you, whilst pretending to your face that they want to help. It still makes my blood boil when I even think about it. And our experience was not the exception.

 

I suppose you can only appreciate things that are lighthearted, when you and your child are in a happier place.

I stopped going to our local NAS group because it always seemed to be about arranging "social" get togethers for the parents, when I could not even contemplate that. It seemed silly and frivolous compared to what we experiencing every day.

 

Imagine a scenario where I would say to my husband as he arrived home from work - "Hello dear, can you go upstairs and stop your son trying to stab himself with the sissors, I'm off out to an NAS pub quiz."

 

Not that I expect any group to be suited to my needs. But I stopped going, and I told the group leader that it did not meet any of our families needs at a time when we most needed any help or support we could get.

 

I think that everyone has something useful to add, and I think that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, without being shot down or rubbished by anyone else.

 

Now i'm off to nick some of my childrens' chocolate :eat:

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Sazale   

Different people are on the forum for different reasons.

When I first joined the forum, I felt that there was an inner circle of members who had known eachother for years, and in some ways felt that I was intruding.

Since them there have been more and more new people joining, and some of the members that used to post seem to have disappeared.

I personally tend to spend most of my time in the Education forum.

Simply because what we experienced as a family with our son is so recent, that I feel I can give relevent advice to other parents with similar issues. I basically do not want other families to go through what we did and spend years trying to navigate through a system that nobody explains to them and where other people within the LA maybe working against you, whilst pretending to your face that they want to help. It still makes my blood boil when I even think about it. And our experience was not the exception.

 

Your post is spot on Sally and I have been reading your posts on the education board with great interest as the LEA have just agreed to statutory assessment for my 13 year old and I've got a feeling they are going to put her in a provision because it's easy and not because it's the right place. It is posts like yours that help people like me who had no idea about ASD let alone Sen until 18 months ago and hopefully it will guide me through the pitfalls.

 

I suppose you can only appreciate things that are lighthearted, when you and your child are in a happier place.

I stopped going to our local NAS group because it always seemed to be about arranging "social" get togethers for the parents, when I could not even contemplate that. It seemed silly and frivolous compared to what we experiencing every day.

 

Imagine a scenario where I would say to my husband as he arrived home from work - "Hello dear, can you go upstairs and stop your son trying to stab himself with the sissors, I'm off out to an NAS pub quiz."

 

Not that I expect any group to be suited to my needs. But I stopped going, and I told the group leader that it did not meet any of our families needs at a time when we most needed any help or support we could get.

 

I think that everyone has something useful to add, and I think that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, without being shot down or rubbished by anyone else.

 

Now i'm off to nick some of my childrens' chocolate :eat:

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What about the other participants on the show? I have a sneaking feeling that Kali (the 20-year-old woman with Williams syndrome in episode 3) was added at a later stage to make up numbers, as witness the fact that she did not appear in the poster line-up, nor is her picture displayed on the programme website. Considering that she has already had one relationship, and decided against seeing her date again because she'd decided she didn't want a relationship at that point in her life, she hardly strikes me as "undateable"! I should be so lucky.

 

Also on episode 3, was I being unduly prudish when I winced at Sam's one-word response to his dad asking what being careful meant ("Condoms!"). Surely there's more to sexual responsibility than that, regardless of how many chromosomes you have?

Edited by Aeolienne

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What about the other participants on the show? I have a sneaking feeling that Kali (the 20-year-old woman with Williams syndrome in episode 3) was added at a later stage to make up numbers, as witness the fact that she did not appear in the poster line-up, nor is her picture displayed on the programme website.

 

I've just spotted her in the Guardian weekend magazine: Link

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