New BBC Documentary Highlights Parents' Struggle to Find Support for Autistic Children

Bonnie Evie Gifford
By Bonnie Evie Gifford,
updated on Apr 17, 2018

New BBC Documentary Highlights Parents' Struggle to Find Support for Autistic Children

A new, one-off documentary from BBC Scotland, Help Me Save My Child highlights the struggle parents are experiencing to access vital support and understanding

Set to air on April 16th, 8.30pm on BBC1 Scotland, Help Me Save My Child will be available for a short period after airing online. BBC Scotland reporter Lisa Summers meets parents who are struggling to cope with the challenging behaviour of their autistic children.

The 30 minute documentary looks to highlight the common misconception that challenging or unusual behaviour exhibited by autistic children is merely bad behaviour. Parents speaking out in this latest documentary talk about how it feels to be judged as bad parents, sharing their heartbreaking stories about their struggle to find support.

In a related story, BBC Scotland shared 15 year old Jacob’s experiences at school earlier today.

“I was locked in a cupboard at school” Jacob told reporters. At just five years old, Jacob’s school would lock him in a store cupboard to ‘calm him down’. He went on to say “I hated it. I saw all the other people in my class, and they were all working and I couldn’t. Then I’d get upset over that, and I’d get angry that I got upset and I’d lash out”.

Overwhelmed from when he first began school, Jacob would often hide from teachers, squeak strange noises, and lash out in frustration. Jacob and his mother, Tina, are still seeking a definitive diagnosis for the teen.

The school, located in a quiet village in the Stirlingshire countryside, used a locked storecupboard with blankets inside as a ‘chill-out room’. Whilst inside, the door was locked, the window left cracked open but unable to be further opened or closed by any student inside. Rather than seeking to find the cause of Jacob’s distress and help him to cope with any triggering factors, teachers instead chose to isolate him rather than addressing any causes of stress, anxiety, or behavioural problems.

This new documentary comes just weeks after Channel 4’s Are You Autistic one-off show in late March 2018. Setting out to challenge the public’s perception of autism, the documentary looked at the potential lost generation of undiagnosed adults and women. It went on to reveal unprecedented results from the largest ever survey of its kind, which suggested over half (54%) of undiagnosed adult autistic individuals may be women.

While diagnosis isn’t vital for everyone, an official ASD diagnosis can be freeing for many adults and teens. For children and teens particularly, a diagnosis can be the first step towards securing additional help, guidance and support, as well as a positive move towards self-acceptance and understanding.

To discover more about autism and the diagnosis process, what support is available and more, visit The National Autistic Society or Counselling Directory to learn more about Raising an Autistic Child and the Adult Journey to Diagnosis.

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