Category Archives: TV

Abandoned to cope on their own

Once again the Victoria Derbyshire programme stepped up to the mark this week, with a segment devoted to the plight of families of children with autism, particularly Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA). The programme is available for the next month only, but the film included, “I feel really bad when I hurt my mum”, from Noel Phillips, will be available for longer.

 

The programme explored problems parents have in obtaining a diagnosis of autism / PDA and then the appalling lack of support following a diagnosis. As a result of a lack of help for families, parents may be coping alone with extreme levels of violence on a daily basis, as children ‘meltdown’ when dealing with anxiety of stress. Children may be excluded from school because of their behaviour, further increasing their vulnerability. We are warned that without timely assistance, many young people are on a trajectory to prison.

Parent, Jason Goldsmith spoke of he and his wife being accused of abusing their 13 year old son by Children’s Services after trying to restrain him, and then going on to install CCTV in the home to provide evidence of the violent behaviour and abuse their son was using against them and his younger sister. They were eventually able to obtain help following this. This is not a new issue, but we are reminded that as recently as 40 years ago there was almost no understanding of autism at all; and certainly PDA remains little understood, and often undiagnosed. Member of parliament Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who was present in the studio as a parent of a child with autism, expanded on the importance of the Autism Act 2009, which has meant that there is greater awareness; and the government is to make mandatory, in 2019, training in the understanding of autism for all in the public services. Nevertheless, as was pointed out by another parent present, awareness is of little help if there is no support accompanying it.

Noel Phillips’ film includes clips of interviews with young people themselves, who speak articulately about their own fears and regrets regarding their behaviour. Norman Lamb, former care minister points to the manner in which all public services are failing these families, and “in a way we’re abandoning families to try to cope on their own with extraordinarily complex circumstances.”

Each time I hear the testimony of parents I am overwhelmed with the enormity of what people are dealing with on a daily basis, and often ‘out of sight’ from the majority of the population, who see simply ‘bad behaviour’. Yet there is a sense of gathering momentum as programmes such as this work to bring attention to the issues. Awareness IS increasing. Therapies and support ARE being slowly developed and implemented. Without support, families fear for the mental and physical health of all concerned, and for the future prospects of their children. As a society we cannot continue to abandon so many people.

 

 

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“Hollyoaks Spoiler: Son and mother domestic abuse storyline”

Writing in the Metro last week, Soaps Editor, Duncan Lindsay revealed an interesting up-coming plot line in the soap, Hollyoaks.

Hollyoaks spoilers: Son and mother domestic abuse storyline revealed for Imran and Misbah Maalik. Duncan Lindsay for Metro.co.uk Wednesday 6 Dec 2017 Continue reading

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“He doesn’t mean to hurt”: the impact on families of violent behaviour from autistic children.

Another great programme from the BBC this week, available until November 28th. Victoria Derbyshire looked at the violence experienced by families of severely autistic children, and the difficulties for parents in obtaining support. (You can also read some of the stories here)

 

As well as introductions, and emails and texts from parents throughout the programme, there are two main sections to the item: a film from Noel Phillips (from 16.40 – 33.40), and interviews and discussion with three families and an MP (from 1.20.10 to 1.31.30). The programme ends with further calls from three families affected at 1.50.24. Some commentary is offered from the National Autistic Society, and the Local Government Association. You can view the whole of Noel Phillips’ film here. Continue reading

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Be curious

Watching the most recent series from Channel 5 about child to parent violence recently, Violent Child, Desperate Parents, I’ve been struck by the principle underlying the therapist, Mandy Saligari’s work: Be Curious.

Read or listen to the discussions around the programme, or follow particular communities on twitter, and you’ll be familiar with the common assumptions about what’s behind the abuse. Parents too soft, giving them everything they want, they just need boundaries, parents have given up, the parents don’t give a damn. Of course, they do give a damn which is why they are taking the almighty step of exposing their lives to general opprobrium via this popular medium, but that seems to be overlooked. Continue reading

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The BBC tackles child to parent violence

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 12.52.02

 

(Screenshot. See below for link to the interview).

This week saw huge progress in the drive to make child to parent violence less of a hidden problem, with a headline story on Monday’s Victoria Derbyshire show on BBC2, presented by Joanna Gosling.

A film, produced by West Midlands journalist Noel Phillips, led the story, and there was studio discussion from me, alongside Ann Ramsden of the Rosalie Ryrie Foundation and Seamus Oates, Executive Head Teacher of TBAP, representing the Youth Justice Board. The Family Lives helpline was offered for anyone seeking more support or information, and Anastasia de Waal chair of Family Lives answered questions throughout the day on local radio stations also picking up the story. If you listen to local radio you may also have heard stories from other families experiencing violence, and local practitioners discussing their work.

The film features interviews with a mother whose son was eventually removed from the home following violence to her, two young lads speaking candidly about past violence and abuse towards their mother, interviews with Cherryl Henry-Leach, leader of the Doncaster programme – Getting On, and Peter Jakob of Partnership Projects.

I have been asked about the figure of 4 million families being affected, offered by Noel Phillips early on in the film. This comes from the 2012 4Children report, The Enemy Within, based on a YouGov survey, which asked families about their experience of conflict and violence.

We are all very excited to have been involved in this, and look forward to further development of these stories being taken up in the same way in the future.

 

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Brainstorm – Think like a teenager!

Brainstorm

 

Islington Community Theatre invites viewers on an exhilarating journey through the lives, bedrooms and brains of teenagers. This BBC iPlayer exclusive is one of five 30-minute theatre shorts from Live From Television Centre. 

Brainstorm reveals the science behind adolescent brain development, drawing upon life experiences of the cast and made in collaboration with leading cognitive neuroscientist Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore. Created by one of the UK’s leading theatre companies making work with young people, this is a thrilling exploration of the most frustrating, chaotic and exhilarating changes that every teenager faces.

I was told about this play only this week and wish I’d known about it earlier. Screened on the BBC on 15th November, it is available to watch on iPlayer till 15th December. Created by the young people themselves it asks parents for greater understanding – and reminds us so much of our own turbulent teenage years!

Watch it, be wowed – and be prepared to cry!

You can see more of Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore in this TED talk about the neuroscience of the adolescent brain.

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My Violent Child: “everything revolves around him”

So this week saw the start of the return series of My Violent Child, the Channel 5 documentary made by Popkorn TV about children’s violence to parents, which first aired in Britain in June 2014. I was tempted to post something in the run up to the first episode (of 3) but decided to watch first before committing myself – always good practice I find! Continue reading

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