AHEAD of its national screening on BBC One tomorrow evening (November 10), Quays News entertainment reporters Nathan Salt and Jasmine Rigby were invited down to witness an exclusive screening of the feature length documentary ‘My Curious Documentary’. Here is what they thought…

Based on the critically acclaimed theatre show ‘The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Night-Time’, this feature length documentary sheds further light on autism in both a heart-warming and educational manner.

A blend of real-life, human interest anecdotes, director Adam Low and producer Martin Rosenbaum – both of whom participated in a Q&A with the intimate audience at the end – perfectly portrayed the reality of what the theatre show surrounds.

One key aspect to emerge from the documentary was the emphasis on hearing the parental view as they deal with an autistic child. Each with different stories to tell but ultimately so much in common, one stand-out scene is when mothers gather together into a Manhattan office and open up to cast members about dealing with their child’s differences.

The documentary in the very least provides a platform of advisability for those who themselves are autistic or those who deal with autistic individuals. Seven-year-old Isaac Davis and his family are one such case study during the 90-minute feature. It highlights his inability to function without a stringent everyday routine and showed the pressures and challenges placed on his parents each and every day. In the subsequent question and answer we put to both Low and Rosenbaum the challenges they faced particularly with the intrusion into Isaac’s strict and regimented routine.

“It was initially tough but he trusted us when we went back the second time after he was suspicious the first time. The scene where he is going to put his listed routine on the fridge we were set to follow him but he asked us not to. It was hard because we needed to follow him for the film but he didn’t want us there. Eventually he allowed us in and he got more relaxed about us filming.”

What was particularly striking about the documentary was its acknowledgement about how attitudes on autism have changed since they began filming five years ago.

A second case study showed the audience Holmewood school in London; a specialist school for autistic children where class sizes range from three pupils to six pupils. Interviews with headteacher Lucia Santi and also a number of students – placed at varying stages on the autistic spectrum, the school was evidence of the pioneering work being done to allow these children to flourish in a specialist environment. For those involved in the theatrical production, the school provided first-hand evidence of how best to portray the disorder. With the students the first to see the documentary on Sunday evening, it was testament that those children saw the portrayal as wholly real and relatable.

‘Does that mean I can do anything?’

Those are the words of the play’s central character Christopher Boone and through this documentary both Low and Rosenbaum beautifully showcased that yes, those with autistic traits can, if given the fundamental support, seize each and every opportunity in life.

Poignant. Educational. And simply inspiring.

‘My Curious Documentary’ airs on Tuesday November 10 at 10:35pm on BBC One

By Nathan Salt and Jasmine Rigby
@NathSalt1 and @jazzariggers

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