‘Chris Packham: Asperger’s and Me’ – a brilliant and moving TV documentary showcasing life on the autistic spectrum
In the UK we have been privileged to have been recently provided with an excellent autobiographical TV documentary by wildlife presenter and conservationist, Chris Packham.
“My name is Chris Packham. What you probably don’t know about me, because I’ve been hiding it most of my life, is that my brain is different than yours, because I’m autistic. I’ve spent 30 years on the telly, trying my best to act normal, when really I’m anything but,” he told us at the start of ‘Chris Packham: Asperger’s and Me’.
Chris was only relatively recently diagnosed with autism, in the mid-2000s – (the TV show didn’t state it, however Asperger’s Syndrome as a ‘label’ is rarely used) – and to UK audiences, the naturalist and Really Wild Show broadcaster has always simply seemed like a talented, enthusiastic and knowledgeable presenter. He’s known for his presenting quirks, but to viewers, few could have suspected that he is autistic.
The BBC TV show showed Chris researching TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) and ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis), both so-called therapies aiming to improve the social behaviours of autistic people. But, like many British people (where ABA is less widely used or advocated, and is seen as abhorrent my many autists, including this author), the Springwatch presenter was uncomfortable with the latter treatment, saying: “I don’t like the idea of comparing autism to a cancer that requires a sort of educational chemotherapy.”
An interesting segment saw Chris at America’s California’s Silicon Valley, where he discovers that a large portion of ‘tech’ employees are on the autistic spectrum; Chris was in fact emphatic in his belief that many autism ‘aspects’ can be seen as a gift.
You can read a UK press review HERE on the Telegraph Online, and also at this site, where the question is asked by ‘inews’, Why force autistic people to adapt to society, when we can adapt society to include them?
The film has been very well received, and is a credit to Chris and the production team!
In addition we can recommend Chris’s book, ‘Fingers in the Sparkle Jar: A Memoir’, described as ‘A beautifully told, deeply personal growing-up memoir from the BBC presenter about life, death, love and nature.’
A little disclaimer – here at Spectra.blog we don’t claim to be experts about Autism; the information we post here is based purely on our own exposure and experiences.
Also published on Medium.