Ambitious about Autism’s youth council speak out for young people with autism in new Channel 4 documentary
Seven council members star in Channel 4’s Are You Autistic? - bringing the views and experiences of young people with autism to a wide national audience. The documentary is presented by Sam Ahern, 22 and Georgia Harper, 23, and also features Jack Whitfield, Jack Welch, Sadie Jaffey, Ollie Marchant and Georgia Ellin.
The youth council contacted Channel 4 while the documentary was in development to offer their views on its content. Programme makers subsequently invited members of the council to play a key role– ensuring the experience of young people with autism is represented throughout the documentary.
Airing on Wednesday 28 March at 10pm, Are You Autistic? looks at many aspects of autism with youth council members helping to debunk common misconceptions and stereotypes.
It also examines the problems caused by delays in getting an autism diagnosis and explores how women with autism use ‘masking’ in social situations.
Georgia Harper, Are You Autistic? presenter and youth council member, said: “I hope viewers will learn that austistic people can have a huge range of possible traits, not all of which are obvious to others - and these can vary day by day.
“Most of all, I hope that undiagnosed adults will see themselves represented for the first time, find their community and finally begin to accept themselves. If one more autistic person is recognised and supported as a result of the documentary, then we’ll have done our job.”
Sam Ahern, fellow presenter and youth council member, added: “The whole experience was new but very exciting. I hope the documentary will broaden people’s understanding of what autism is and challenge stereotypes presented in the media and elsewhere. Overall I hope people have a positive experience watching the programme so they are able learn more about autism.”
Jolanta Lasota, Chief Executive of Ambitious about Autism, said: “We’re hugely proud of the key role our youth council members have played in shaping and developing this documentary, which will bring greater understanding and awareness of autism to a wide audience.
“The views and experiences of young people with autism are often underrepresented in the media so it’s fantastic that our youth panel members have used this platform to speak out together and engage others.
“Ambitious about Autism’s aim is to make the ordinary possible for children and young people with autism. As the number of people being diagnosed continues to rise, it’s never been more important to ensure young people have access to the right education and support they need to thrive as early as possible.”