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'Let's all listen and learn' - widespread praise for insightful Autism and Me documentary


Viewers have been blown away by an insightful RTÉ documentary on autism which met a number of people on the spectrum who each weighed in on what it means to have autism.

The powerful documentary met a number of people, including 11-year-old Hughie Malone who has Aspergers Syndrome and has become something of a household name after a Late Late Show appearance.

Bringing the crew on a walkabout during his interview, Hughie joked with the crew: "I know how obsessed you are with your scenic shots".

He spoke passionately about society's need to label people, which he feels causes us to miss out.

"If you're neuro-typical, good for you. If you're not, good for you. It doesn't really matter," he said.

Autism advocate, Adam Harris (22), who has Asperger’s Syndrome, also took part in the documentary. Adam has set up AsIAm, an organisation that supports people with autism and educates the public about the condition.

Adam spoke about the need for change in educational and employment settings for people with autism. The focus is, he said, too often on what people with autism can't.

"Instead of saying what does success look like for this person?'," he said.

Some 80pc of people with autism are long-term unemployed Adam explained in the program.

Twins Dylan and Lee Burke (11) and their family are also featured in the documentary.

Niamh Biddulph (20) spoke about the importance of her independent and her dreams of going to college and having a family.

Fiacre Ryan (16), who is non-verbal, also appeared on the show. His parents discovered an experimental method of communication called RPM in 2013, giving him a means to express his thoughts and feelings.

Viewers have taken to social media to praise the documentary.

The families who took part in the documentary have criticised a shortage of services including in education and diagnosis services.

Online Editors