6 Sept 2007

Monster Autism in the Daily Mail; Update

I really should know better than to take an article in the Daily Mail newspaper at face value. When I wrote about a recent diatribe on life with an autistic child, I took it to be the words of the mother whose name was under the headline. It was not. It was a selective adaptation from her book. The author of the book, Jan Greenman, commented on my post. She was polite and was keen to set the record straight about her son. I apologised to her for the absolutely unnecessary personal insult I levelled at her in my original post, when I thought she was the author of the actual newspaper article.

Jan wrote in my comments section about the paper's decision to feature her book;

I was so excited, assuming that it would be in the form of a book review and give people, as my book does, the truth about Luke's life with labels. I have written a book about all the aspects of Luke's life and the book is NOT about me, although the Mail have written it from that perspective, picking out probably all the references to me in the whole book!

She also wrote;

Luke is so brilliant at talking for himself and explaining how it feels to be him. He has written tips at the end of each chapter for parents to try and understand what was going through his head when he behaved in a certain way and everyone who has read the book says that they laughed, they cried, they couldn't put it down but they understood so much more at the end of it and had so much respect for Luke. He has had the toughest time at school and I have fought tooth and nail to get him any kind of help and recognition of his differences and how they affect him. He has many sensory sensitivities and he is acutely aware of who likes him and who doesn't and acts accordingly. He wasn't diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome until he was 10yrs old, which is why I didn't understand him properly and he didn't cuddle me until he was 11. Because he was my first child, I just didn't know what had hit me and yet I loved him utterly.

Isn't it a pity that these words weren't published in the paper. I had written, 'I have judged her by her words. I know this is a newspaper article and journalists can twist the story to fit the template that sells more, but she has written a book, and I can't see a single positive word from her in the whole article.' I was right about the journalist but wrong about Jan Greenman.


David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E. said...

It's called Journalistic Dramatisation Disorder, and thankfully Brian Deer would not qualify for that diagnosis.

The writer of the article you mention definitely does.

Allie said...

I wonder if journalists like that have any idea of the consequences of their actions?

I take back that 'Merchant Banker' quip.