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2017; 42 vote; 9,1 / 10 Star; Synopsis - Chris Packham: Asperger's and Me is a TV movie starring Chris Packham. Chris Packham invites us inside his autistic world to find out what it is like being him

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Chris packham: asperger's and me boys. Chris Packham: Asperger's and medical. Chris packham: asperger's and me baby. Express. Home of the Daily and Sunday Express. THERE is a wonderful black-and-white image of Chris Packham taken in the Eighties. He is facing an owl. On one level, the two beings in the frame could not look more different – one is a predatory bird with a big dish-shaped face, the other a telly presenter with a white-blonde quiff. PUBLISHED: 10:17, Wed, Oct 18, 2017 | UPDATED: 11:38, Wed, Oct 18, 2017 GETTY Chris Packham in Asperger's And Me, left, Ben Fogle in New Lives In THe Wild, right Even if you had seen that picture long before watching Chris Packham: Asperger’s And Me (BBC2), you might have felt there was something about the pair that was similar too. Owls are slightly unknowable creatures of the night, inhabitants of abandoned spaces, possessors of remarkable skills. And Chris, as we learned in last night’s brave self-safari film, has a few things in common with them. He lives alone in the New Forest. He is socially awkward. He insists on objects being symmetrically arranged and has a wardrobe full of identical trios of garments. While these traits, typical of the autistic-spectrum condition Asperger’s Syndrome, keep him apart from the world, they are also linked to his success in it. Immersing himself in nature as a child to escape bewildering human interactions, he developed an obsessive, encyclopaedic knowledge. This might make him a poor conversationalist at parties but it makes him a brilliant wildlife presenter. His senses, so easily overloaded by social settings or crowded streets, are a gift when in the deep countryside, seeking out the whiff of a departed fox. Watching the rapport he had with lemurs, porcupines and tigers, you wondered if what made him uncomfortable around humans made him supremely comfortable around other species. It was never as simple as that, though. For a start – as raw and candid recollections showed us – he’d had one hell of a horrid journey up to this point. Travelling to the United States, where electronic and behavioural treatments claim to ‘cure’ autistic traits, he became convinced society needed to change, not individuals. At Microsoft HQ, he met bosses who realised the contribution autistic-spectrum people made to the tech industry and were devising new strategies to recruit them. It was not a disorder that needed fixing but a unique resource to be valued. Amen to that. But at the same time you had to remember both Chris and the dotcom boffins were exceptional examples. Chris Packham is a great communicator. He might have had to teach himself that skill in a different way to others but it is there nonetheless. GETTY Season six of Ben Fogle's TV show started on Tuesday For those people on the spectrum not gifted with outstanding talents or able to find a niche, the future looks more understanding – but not necessarily much better. You cannot blame some people for seeking a cure. Beginning a new series on the aptly named Wilderness Island, Ben Fogle: New Lives In the Wild (Channel 5) introduced us to Jim and Kim. In contrast to many of the hermits Ben has met during this series, Jim and Kim were chatty and funny and clearly valued contact with the outside world. It was hard, sometimes, to work out what they were doing there, miles off Australia’s north-western coast in a weather trouble-zone called Cyclone Alley on a rather bare island that seemed no prettier than Southport beach. When Ben suggested Kim, 28, might want other things in life, she agreed. Maybe she did said Jim, 45, and he would probably join her. Not so much new lives as brief intervals. ---------------- GETTY Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko's legendary fight on April 29 Real Life: Anthony Joshua: The Fight Of My Life, 10. 45pm, BBC1 Saturday, April 29 of this year will be remembered vividly in boxing circles as the night Anthony Joshua really came of age. Having been knocked to the canvas by the incredible Wladimir Klitschko the Watford man picked himself up to win the bout in the 11th round by technical knockout. This programme offers an intimate insight into the life of one of Britain’s major sporting superstars as he prepares for the world-title fight, one of the biggest boxing matches in recent history. The documentary features behind-the-scenes footage in the final hours leading up to the event, alongside Anthony’s own analysis on the biggest test of his career so far. NB: 11. 40PM IN EIRE AND NI ---------------- GETTY President Trump with Russian leader Vladimir Putin Chilling photographs from inside Mosul Wed, June 21, 2017 Iraqi forces battle to retake the last enclaves held by Islamic State militants REUTERS 1 of 12 An Iraqi special forces soldier checks men for explosive belts as they cross from Islamic State controlled part of Mosul to Iraqi forces controlled part of Mosul Documentary: Army: Behind The New Frontlines, 9PM BBC2 In the opening episode of a new three-part series going behind the scenes of the British Army, troops return to Iraq where previous controversial campaigns in this country and Afghanistan prompted public and political opposition to future military intervention. With the rise of Islamic State, British soldiers are back operating on the frontlines as they help the Iraqis in the battle to take back the city of Mosul. A year after one of the greatest political upsets of all time, Matt Frei travels to Moscow and Washington DC to discover more about the alleged conspiracy between Donald Trump and Russia. President Trump denies the accusations levelled at him but is there more to say on the matter? ---------------- Soap: Coronation Street, 7. 30pm and 8. 30pm, ITV Mary Taylor promises Jude Appleton that from now on she’ll back off and give him and Angie the space that they need. Mary’s constant interference has really got on Angie’s nerves. But will this decision be enough to keep Angie happy? Meanwhile Billy apologises to Peter for losing his temper in such a bad way and Chesney impresses Sinead with his response to a crisis. ---------------- CHANNEL 4 George Clarke in his new series Ugly House To Lovely House Design: Ugly House To Lovely House With George Clarke, 8pm, C4 In this new series, George Clarke is joined by leading architects to help transform some of the nation’s most unloved houses into desirable properties. Tonight the team meets Simon and Lisa who bought a shoddy building in rural Gloucestershire. George teams the couple up with creative architect Laura Clark, who hopes to turn it into a warm and welcoming, modern home.
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Chris packham: asperger's and me interview. Asperger's documentary TV presenter tells about his experiences living with autism 17 Oct 2017, 20:53 Updated: 17 Oct 2017, 20:57 Springwatch presenter Chris Packham captivates his fans with an incredibly moving documentary. Detailing his life with autism, he gives fans an insight into what life is really like for him living with the diagnosis. What time is Chris Packham: Asperger's And Me on BBC Two? Chris Packham: Asperger’s and Me is on October 17, at 9pm on BBC2. The presenter, who shot to fame on The Really Wild Show, gives a touching insight into his struggles with autism. The Springwatch star details his childhood behaviour that made him stand out from the crowd including licking beetles and chewing tadpoles. He addresses a deep concern for  public perception,  the controversial topic of “eradicating” autism by “retraining” children, the rise of science and tech industry geniuses, who we discover, are on the spectrum. Who is Chris Packham? Chris Packham is a well-known TV presenter, nature photographer and naturalist. He developed his passion for the great outdoors after he got a degree from the University of Southampton in Zoology. Chris got his first big break in 1986 when he worked on kids nature programme The Really Wild Show, which ran until 1995. He is now a well-known personality for hosting Springwatch, which he has done for eight years, and has had many scientific papers published. 3 Chris Packham speaks openly about his battle with Asperger's in documentary Credit: BBC Chris was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, and has revealed he has suffered from severe depression in the past. He has written a book called Fingers in the Sparkle jar where he reveals how his autism has proved a challenge throughout his life. Exclusive PACK IT IN Springwatch's Chris Packham slams trolls who left dead crows on his gate GAME FOR A SERIES Meet Martin Hughes-Games, the Winterwatch presenter back with the gang bromance What is Tommy Fury and Curtis Pritchard's show The Boxer and The Ballroom Dancer? NATURE'S NEW FRIEND Here's the lowdown on Springwatch 2018 presenter Gillian Burke SHE'S REALLY WILD How animal-loving Michaela Strachan became a top wildlife TV presenter NATURE'S FINEST The full lowdown on Springwatch presenter and naturalist Iolo Williams GAMES OVER Why is Martin Hughes-Games not on Springwatch 2018 & who are the special guests? NATURE HUB Springwatch is back on BBC Two tonight! Here's all you need to know GREEN FINGERS Meet the Chelsea Flower Show host who's taught us how to grow our own drugs ROAD CHILL Chris Packham keeps roadkill in his freezer - to feed foxes in his garden.

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Chris Packham was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome when he was in his 40s. The television presenter reveals how the condition helps him to see the world in a different way and why he wouldn't want to change it. Chris Packham: Asperger's and Me was made for BBC Two. Viewers in the UK can watch the full programme on iPlayer. Chris Packham: Asperger's and medicaid services. Chris Packham: Asperger's and medicaid.

Title: Chris Packham: Asperger’s and Me Director: Charlie Russell Executive Producer: Tom Barry Producer:  Lizzie Kempton Network: BBC Two Airdate:  17 October 2017 Full disclosure: I am a huge fan of Chris Packham. He is, hands down, my favourite television presenter, and a genuinely inspirational figure to me as a naturalist, a conservationist, and—more recently—as an author. This blog usually (and all too sporadically, particularly of late) concerns itself with fictional onscreen representations of mental health, but in the case of this recent documentary by Chris about his experience of Asperger’s Syndrome, I therefore had to make an exception. The only reason I didn’t write about it sooner is that I was out of the country when it aired, and hence have only had the opportunity to catch up with it over the past week. It is, however, every much as extraordinary and superlative an hour of television as I had anticipated and hoped. My name is Chris Packham. What you probably don’t know—because I’ve been hiding it most of my life—is that my brain is different than yours, because I’m autistic. My type of autism is called Asperger’s. I’ve spent thirty years on the telly trying my best to act normal, when really I am anything but. Now, I’ve decided that I want to talk about my Asperger’s. I want people to try to understand what it is like to be me. There is a lot about me which is pretty normal. There are a lot of other things that are not quite so normal. This is the story of my life: the past and the present, how those that love me have learned to live with me. As a young man there was absolutely nothing available to help me, but now I am going in search of radical new therapies that might be able to improve my life and the lives of millions of others, treatments aimed at making us more normal, stripping us of our autistic traits. If a cure for autism ever became available, would I choose to take it? Last year, Chris Packham published Fingers in the Sparkle Jar, a memoir remarkable for its detailed recall, its beautiful prose—especially when describing his experiences of the natural world—and a unique style that finds sections written as from a third person’s perspective mixed in with first-hand accounts and exchanges from his therapy sessions. It was in this book and the promotional tour that accompanied it (during which I was lucky enough to attend a talk at London’s Natural History Museum and, briefly, to meet Chris) that he first talked about his Asperger’s, and the challenges it has conferred upon him throughout life. If you have autism there’s an enormous breadth of how that impacts upon your life, and I think it varies from having a few traits that might be perceived as quirky or difficult socially—and many, many people will have those—and, at the other end, I think that it is fair to call it a disability. I’m not a typical autistic person because there is no typical autistic person. Asperger’s (or Asperger Syndrome) is on the autism spectrum, a developmental disorder characterised by levels of difficulty in social interactions including understanding and experiencing empathy. It is notable how Packham describes the spectrum in such inclusive, individualistic, and relatable terms. Indeed, there are certain behavioural “quirks” that Chris references—his deep love for the animals over and above human relationships, obsessional interests, and a degree of social awkwardness—that I recognise to some extent as traits of my own such that they do not seem abnormal to me at all. Throughout the documentary and with great candour, Chris reveals his experience of Asperger’s and its effects upon his life from childhood through adolescence and into adulthood. He explains the hyper-reality with which he experiences sensory data, and cascades of remembered encyclopaedic information that tumble through his brain and can lead to lengthy, verbose monologues of free association he is inclined to share with anyone who might listen. He has learned to minimise his clumsiness in social circumstances, but in some respects that has led to a decision to isolate himself from such interactions. Packham lives in a house in the New Forest with Scratchy, his beloved miniature poodle, as his sole companion. (His rapport with animals is self-evident in any number of encounters, both during the documentary and throughout his television career. ) He describes how that self-enforced solitude helps him to feel “normal” in his day-to-day environment, and how he takes rigorous steps to control that environment, for example by leaving window blinds pulled down through the day, and by regimentally organising his belongings and habits. There is, however, a price to pay for such isolation. Alienated from social circles by other children at school he felt an escalating conflict with the outside world, preferring instead to spend his time with the natural world, leading to an obsessional interest. The pinnacle of this was his six-month relationship with a kestrel he took from a nest as a young teenager, which he describes as a “mental love missile” but which ultimately ended in the “catastrophic event” of the bird’s death from illness. That part of his personal story was the most powerful passage of all in  Fingers in the Sparkle Jar, and his pained response as he revisits the bird’s grave in the documentary makes for difficult viewing. He has considered suicide on no fewer than three occasions during his lowest moments, revealing the psychological impact living with autism can have—not only upon the individual but also upon their family. One of the aims of the documentary is to explore potential treatments for those with autism. To this end, Chris crosses the Atlantic, first visiting Rhode Island’s Brown University where a program is trialling Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation  (TMS) in order to determine whether or not it can help alleviate the effects of autism. TMS operates according to the theory that autism may be caused by over- or under-activity of certain parts of the brain, and uses electrical induction to cause neurons in such areas to fire. Packham is concerned that the accuracy of the equipment used is to within one cubic centimetre—comprising many millions of neurons—and hence announces that there is “categorically not a chance” that he would ever countenance undergoing such treatment for himself, whilst also admitting the dichotomy that the scientific part of his nature inclines him to also consider that you have to “pioneer”. More disturbing is his exploration of Applied Behavioural Analysis, an educational approach that is often applied in attempts to eradicate autistic behaviour. Chris Packham’s distaste at the technique and the chaotic environments in which it is practised is clear, however he also acknowledges its appeal to desperate parents of children with seriously debilitating forms of autism. It is considered a panacea in the USA—where one practitioner he meets is positively evangelical about its potential to eradicate the condition, citing it as “educational chemotherapy”—however is widely discredited in the UK for its attempts, essentially, to force autistic children to become something that they are not. Returning to his personal narrative, Packham credits his anger and confusion at his difference from others as leading to an interest in punk rock (citing Penetration ‘s “ Shout Above the Noise ” as his life anthem) that he found empowering. Furthermore, his obsessional interest with animals led him to his career break on The Really Wild Show in 1986, on which he first learned to control some of his behavioural inclinations and turned in a charismatic performance as a presenter that birthed a career that sees him as a stand-out performer in his field. Reflections on his personal history combined with his investigations into potential treatments for autism lead to the revelatory conclusion to Packham’s journey. He recognises how he is lucky to be high-functioning with his autism, yet realises that his career would not exist without his condition. I realise now that there is no way I could do my job without Asperger’s. What I do in terms of just making this programme is afforded to me because of my Asperger’s—because of my neurological differences—so that’s being able to see things with perhaps a greater clarity, to see the world in a different way, in my case in a very visual way. But I’ve been able to understand that, and that’s something that was a painful process to go through, but I did it and now I am very fortunate to be able to reap the benefits of that. Not all autistic people are in that position. There are many aspects of Asperger’s which are enormously positive, and there must be many other people out there who could contribute in an immensely productive way who aren’t able to do so because they can’t quite manage some aspects of their life in the way that I do in order to make it productive. In the UK, only 14% of autistic adults are in full-time employment, the lowest percentage for any notifiable disability, and that is a tragic loss. For his last journey Stateside, Chris visits Silicon Valley and learns that it is people with autistic traits that are responsible in part for some of the most celebrated leaps in technological innovation of recent decades. In this context, the idea of a cure for autism is considered nothing less than “toxic”. Whilst treatments are founded upon the assumption that autistic people should be forced to fit within society rather than adapting to include them, some of the tech giants of Silicon Valley have learned to do just that, to society’s enduring benefit. Imagine all those people trapped in their room because they are isolated by this condition. They haven’t been able to sculpt opportunities, manage themselves in a way that allows them to fulfil their lives. That’s like a ghastly sentence set in a vile fairy tale. No one should be imprisoned by this condition. They should be allowed to exult in those aspects of the condition which empower them. That difference is such a valuable tool, an enormous asset. To be able to see things, understand things, process things and remember things in a way that most people can’t do has to be seen as a gift, not something that you are badged with and it’s about what you can’t do; it’s got to be about what you can do. I have often railed on this blog at the presentation in television dramas of mental health conditions as some kind of super power, but when it comes to certain kinds of autism Asperger’s and Me makes a powerful case that, in certain circumstances, the positive aspects of some conditions can be harnessed to considerable benefit if the more negative aspects can be managed. Countering this perspective, however, Chris shares his honest fear that he may be making this documentary in an “interval between disasters”, noting that for all his successes he still finds himself unable to deal with losing those that he loves, and that he does not wish to therefore appear as some kind of a charlatan given a sense that all of the success and happiness he has found may be “built on sand”. Nevertheless, in sharing how he has sustained a long-term relationship for a decade (albeit not without its stresses and strains) and also enjoys what is clearly a mutually rewarding and loving relationship with his step-daughter, there is an undeniably optimistic thread to the balanced view of his condition that he presents. And so he has his answer to the question he poses at the beginning of the documentary. For all the contradictions, all the heartache of this condition, what I have seen in America has made it very clear to me that we need to understand autistic people better, not try to change who they are. If you offered me a cure, from my particular perspective, from where I stand, then no thank you. Asperger’s and Me is a bold documentary in which Chris Packham dares to reveal a side of himself and aspects of his personal history that are clearly deeply personal and, at times, harrowing. It is to his credit that he has done so, as he has helped to shine light upon a complex, poorly understood range of disorders. His sharp intelligence, matter-of-fact delivery, and scientific mindset combine to make this a very special hour of television indeed. The critical response has been universal in its praise, prompting Chris to write a heartfelt thank you note on his website. Asperger’s and Me gets my highest recommendation, so if you can please do check it out on the BBC iPlayer (it is available for UK viewers for another couple of weeks or so, at the time of writing), or alternatively/ additionally read  Fingers in the Sparkle Jar. Both offer the opportunity to see and understand the world from the gifted perspective of a unique, intelligent, and fascinating man.

Review After watching this bleak but powerful journey into Chris Packham’s psyche, you won’t see him quite the same way again. In one scene, he shows us photographs he took as a tormented teenager, black and white shots of himself with bleached hair and dynamite strapped to his head or pointing a gun at his own temple. It’s shocking to learn the very rocky road Packham travelled before he became a much-loved TV naturalist, but both, he argues, resulted from his particular form of autism. Packham’s Asperger’s (he wasn’t diagnosed until he was in his 40s) means he dislikes socialising, struggles to empathise, and experiences sensory overload, but it also gives him an obsessive focus that has served him well. In intimate conversations he bares his soul about a difficult childhood, keeping a kestrel as a teenager (“I don’t think I’ve ever loved anything so intensely”) and how he has come to terms with being different. Summary The naturalist and broadcaster offers a personal and brutally honest account of his life coping with Asperger's syndrome, reflecting on the devastating struggles of his adolescence. With scientific advances offering new possibilities to treat his condition, he travels to America to witness radical therapies that appear to offer the chance of entirely eradicating problematic autistic traits, while his long-term partner Charlotte talks about the problems Asperger's creates in their relationship. Cast & Crew Director Charlie Russell Editor Will Grayburn Executive Producer Tom Barry Producer Lizzie Kempton Education.

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Chris packham: asperger's and me girl. Updated / Thursday, 12 Oct 2017 12:12 Chris Packham weighs up life with Asperger's in new documentary Naturalist and broadcaster Chris Packham is set to present a new one off programme on BBC2 called Chris Packham: Asperger’s And Me. The BBC presenter told Radio Times magazine that he hopes the documentary will show that "Asperger’s is something other than a total handicap. " At 56 years of age, Chris lives has a successful career, a long-term partner in Charlotte Corney and a pet dog called "Scratchy". However, life on the spectrum can make life difficult, especially when it comes to social situations and relationships. Now, as scientific advances work towards treating the condition, Chris travels to America to observe the therapies that could possibly remove certain autistic traits. Speaking on the idea of curing Aspergers, Chris said that he would like to see young people in happier situations: "And of course I want it to help younger people with Asperger’s, who become inordinately depressed and sadly often suicidal. "They’re incredibly creative with enormously interesting mindsets, locked away in a bedroom on their own, lonely kids in a very bad place. " Things aren't clear cut though as Chris himself enjoys many of the qualities he has gained due to being on the autistic spectrum. "There’s a tremendous amount I like about having Asperger’s, " he said. "I can remember things. You don’t want to play me at Trivial Pursuit. It’s just retentive memory, not intelligence, but if I’ve read it, I can regurgitate it. " So, if Asperger's could be 'cured', would Chris want the treatment? "If there were a cure for Asperger’s, I don’t know if I’d want it. "Humanity has prospered because of people with autistic traits. Without them, we wouldn’t have put man on the moon or be running software programs. "If we wiped out all the autistic people on the planet, I don’t know how much longer the human race would last. ".

Chris packham: asperger's and me family. Chris packham: asperger's and me friends. Rapier wrote: rsonally, I currently favour the social model of disability - where it is not the person's ability that is impaired by their difference, but rather it's society's failure to cater for that difference that makes someone unable to do something. There almost certainly are extreme cases where individuals find particular tasks almost impossible even when their needs are catered for, but I think the vast majority of 'disability' is simply society catering for it's norms and forgetting those on the fringes of whatever spectrum you're looking at... There is certainly some truth to that when it comes down to certain psychological issues. However, there are problems and "disabilities" that "society" just can't accommodate in stride. I don't mean that those suffering from these are forever crippled or that they can't function, I mean that the nature of human social interaction is held powerless in some situations as it truly "does not apply. " It's impotent due to the nature of the particular issue. With Asperber's, there's an entire channel of social communication and understanding that has been turned off or, at least, been greatly reduced in effectiveness. Not every sufferer is effected to the same degree, but some of those who have been impacted the most will not be easily helped by "society" doing something about it as far as social or cultural change is concerned. What we must do is be attentive to these problems and to those who suffer from them. We must understand that sufferers are human beings that deserve our efforts to help them and, when we are able, to accommodate their specific needs. I also have to say that they deserve to be independent, accepted, and to be supported in their efforts to have a rewarding life in human society. (For those with issues that still allow them to be functional and safe. ) I'll also note: Everything that I have learned points to one inescapable fact when it comes down to diagnostics and labeling of human behaviors: Our definitions and expectations often change. Our interpretations and classifications are also effected by cultural and social change and, sadly, diagnostic "fads. " In short, certain diagnoses do not always yield completely predictable results. They are, by and large, a matter of "degree. " This is why, for instance, psychology is a "soft science", but related fields in neuroscience are more "hard science. " Human behavior, itself, is not always easily predictable in the specific instance, but predictions based on aggregate results largely hold true. That means that a person who is diagnosed with a specific issue will not always conform in their behavior in every way to some predictable model. There are always deviations and exceptions for individuals. And, that is how it should be, always, if we value human uniqueness and diversity.

Chris packham: asperger's and me work. Chris packham: asperger's and me youtube. Sitting at home in his New Forest cottage, Chris Packham is talking very fast, and getting faster. The words are rattling out as rapidly as his mental assembly line can deliver them – but not once does his fluency falter. “I’m anything but normal, ” he agrees, staring at the floor. “I experience the world in hyper-reality. Sensory overload is a constant distraction. I’ve just been for a walk in the woods, and it was very different for me than it would be for you – the sights, the smells, the sounds. ” He frowns, and glances at his partner, 41-year-old Charlotte Corney. “But we need to go to the supermarket later, and I’ll do anything to get out of it because supermarkets are a swamping of the senses. The lighting is hideous, it’s crowded, and the complex of smells is overwhelming. “Bookshops are similar. I love books, but I hate bookshops – all the colours, the shapes, the geometry, books all over the tables – oh my God. I have lots of books, but I don’t like seeing their spines because my visual perception is hugely sensitive. Every item in my home relates spatially to every other item, via the vectors co-joining everything. ” He points around the room at the invisible vectors. Then he fleetingly makes eye contact for the first time since the interview began, and smiles. Like 700, 000 or so others in the UK, Chris Packham is autistic – he has a developmental disability affecting how he relates to other people, and also how he experiences the world. Specifically he has Asperger’s syndrome, so he doesn’t have the learning difficulties or problems with speech that many autistic people have. The form Asperger’s takes varies, but difficulties can include understanding body language; interpreting the thoughts and feelings of others; relating to the non-literal use of language, such as jokes or irony; anxiety if familiar routines aren’t adhered to; being overpowered by visual, auditory or tactile stimuli; and having restricted or repetitive patterns of behaviour. The cause isn’t known, and neither can Asperger’s be cured. Chris Packham and the Autumnwatch presenters For Packham, 56, his lifelong fascination with the natural world paved the way to his television career, but the degree of his obsession was fuelled by Asperger’s, although it wasn’t formally diagnosed until 2005 (and made public only last year in his memoir Fingers in the Sparkle Jar). Over the years he has learnt to manage some of his behaviour. Now he has made an utterly remarkable documentary about his condition, laying bare its impact on himself and others. Much of it was filmed in and around his New Forest sanctuary. Charlotte, his partner of ten years, doesn’t live here, but on the Isle of Wight where she runs a zoo, yet their bond is evident. She is warmly hospitable, plucking tea and biscuits from his cupboards, where every jar and tin is lined up in perfect rows, labels to the front. Packham lives in the cottage with his 14-year-old poodle Scratchy, whose twin brother Itchy died last December. It was an incalculable loss. His Asperger’s means that, while human relationships can be puzzling, his depth of feeling for all the dogs he has owned knows no bounds. The corollary is that their deaths engulf him in such unreachable despair that he has previously considered suicide. He knows his remaining time with Scratchy is limited, and he describes this as “the interval between disasters”. “Scratchy is the most important creature in my life, ” he says. “He’s dependent on me; Charlotte isn’t. I’ve always had a problem with needing to be loved by other people. My love for Scratchy and Charlotte is different, but of equal gravity, and that gravity is the problem. Humans find it crushing. Animals benefit because my devotion is profound. Also humans consistently fail one another, whereas Scratchy never, ever fails me. ” Since Itchy died, Packham has devised what he calls “my romantic plan”. Itchy’s body is in cold storage in a barn beside the cottage, and when Scratchy dies, the two will be cremated. “After I die I’ll also be cremated, and we’ll all be mixed together and chucked out in the woods, ” says Packham cheerfully. “Then the three of us can become something joyous in the place we’ve loved so greatly. You must see it. ” Wellingtons are found and we head out into the autumn air. In truth it is these woods that are the real key to Packham’s peace of mind. “There’s a tremendous amount I like about having Asperger’s, ” he says. “I can remember things. You don’t want to play me at Trivial Pursuit. It’s just retentive memory, not intelligence, but if I’ve read it, I can regurgitate it. “If there were a cure for Asperger’s, I don’t know if I’d want it. Humanity has prospered because of people with autistic traits. Without them, we wouldn’t have put man on the Moon or be running software programs. If we wiped out all the autistic people on the planet, I don’t know how much longer the human race would last. “I hope the documentary will show that Asperger’s is something other than a total handicap. And of course I want it to help younger people with Asperger’s, who become inordinately depressed and sadly often suicidal. They’re incredibly creative with enormously interesting mindsets, locked away in a bedroom on their own, lonely kids in a very bad place. ” The rattle of words is cut short, with a crisp: “We’re here. ” And in a clearing in the dense tangle of woodland stands a great beech. “This tree is about 600 years old, an enigma of the woods, ” says Packham, gazing up into the canopy. “It reminds me of my own inconsequence. It’s magnificent. This is where we’ll be, Itchy and Scratchy and I. Part of the earth, and in time part of this tree. Literally, life after death. What could be better than that? ” By Kate Battersby Chris Packham: Asperger’s and Me is on Tuesday 17 th  October at 9pm on BBC2.

“My name is Chris Packham. What you probably don’t know about me, because I’ve been hiding it most of my life, is that my brain is different than yours because I’m autistic. I’ve spent 30 years on the telly, trying my best to act normal, when really I’m anything but. ” S o went the presenter’s plain-spoken introduction to powerful, impassioned film  Chris Packham: Asperger's and Me  ( BBC Two). The much-loved naturalist wasn’t diagnosed with high-functioning Asperger Syndrome until his forties but, as he explained with admirable candour, his condition has defined his entire life. He fought it for years, determined not to be different. With painful honesty, Packham reflected on the struggles of his youth in Sixties Southampton, when he was bullied but found solace in his obsession with wildlife. He collected fox skulls, licked beetles (in case you’re wondering, they “tasted like a dirty old sixpence”) and ate live tadpoles (“little blobs of earthy semolina”). Packham had a poetically evocative way with words. In an affecting sequence reminiscent of the 1969 film Kes, he recalled taking a kestrel chick from its nest, hand-rearing and flying it: “It was some sort of mental love missile. I just lit the touchpaper and fired myself into it. It sparkled, exploded and was totally beautiful. ” When the bird died six months later, it was a “catastrophic event”. H e was eventually told by his fashion designer sister Jenny to “go on TV and bore the rest of the world about animals, not just your family”. From there, he forced a successful career. Asperger’s made him who he is today. P ackham tried to demonstrate what it’s like inside his peculiarly wired brain and how he experiences the world. In fascinatingly frank straight-to-camera pieces, he talked us through his heightened senses and how his mind leaps mercurially from one subject to the next. He discussed his OCDish fixation with order and the coping strategies he has developed – the main one of which is living alone, deep in the New Forest. The 56-year-old still lives in terror of losing the things he loves. His “best friend”, black poodle Scratchy, has liver disease and Packham fears being left “hopelessly alone”, musing: “Things are OK, better than OK, but it’s all built on sand”. He admitted seriously considering suicide thee times but was saved by his dogs: “They loved me and I couldn’t let hem down. ” He struggles in social situations and hasn’t been to a party for a decade. For proof, we saw him declining to accompany his long-suffering partner Charlotte to a wedding ( they’ve been together 10 years but still live a Solent apart) and scoffing at the very idea of attending his stepdaughter Megan’s graduation ceremony. I t wasn’t all inward-looking. Packham flew to America to witness radical therapies: TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) and ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis). Both were uncomfortable to watch, for us as well as him. Packham bridled when autism was compared to cancer and such treatments to “educational chemotherapy”, insisting he would never take a cure, even if one became available. V isiting Silicon Valley, where the tech boom has been built by people with autistic traits, he made the wider point that society needs to understand autistic people, not try to change them. Harness their gifts and they could become a valuable asset. As well as devastatingly honest and full of telling detail, this film was surprisingly arty. With its silent dramatisations of Packham’s past, moodily lit monologues and atmospherically discordant music, it often felt more akin to edgy BBC Four fare than a standard BBC Two documentary. After 30 years on our screens, from The Really Wild Show to Springwatch, Packham has become a cult figure, notorious for slyly sneaking song and film titles into live broadcasts. It’s now clear that such games are a way of keeping his fizzing brain occupied. He deserves to become even more of a cult hero after this courageous film.

Chris packham: asperger's and me parents. Chris Packham: Asperger’s and Me is a must watch (Picture: BBC/ Richard Ansett) Chris Packham shows the bliss and affecting pitfalls of isolation in an excellent new documentary about living with Aspergers. The 56-year-old presenter publicly announced his autism in last year’s memoir Fingers In The Sparkle Jar. Despite being in the public eye on countless wildlife programmes, including his breakout stint on CBBC’s The Really Wild Show, it wasn’t until 2005 he was officially diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. This documentary however isn’t simply Chris’s journey of self-discovery and realising his differences, instead Asperger’s And Me takes a challenging dive into why this diagnosis shouldn’t be seen as a handicap, while being startlingly honest in execution. I’ve made a film about being different, how it’s sometimes difficult and sometimes brilliant, not just about what I can’t do but what I can — Chris Packham (@ChrisGPackham) October 17, 2017 We’re introduced to Packham’s isolated safe haven at his New Forest Sanctuary where he lives with his poodle, Scratchy. His girlfriend of 10 years, Charlotte, doesn’t live here and instead presides on the Isle Of Wight where she runs a zoo. From here, we journey through Chris’s upbringing and how his autistic traits magnified his intense love of wildlife. From eating a tadpole to admitting how he’s never loved anything more in his life than a pet kestrel bird while growing up – the documentary isn’t afraid of spotlighting the strange habits which both sadly and unsurprisingly, left him an enigma to his fellow schoolmates. It’s the positive outlook on autism however which shines through, with Chris visiting the bedrock of modern society in California’s Silicon Valley, where he discovers a large portion of Google’s employees are on the spectrum and hired specifically because of their capabilities. Reflecting on his own diagnosis and his career path, Chris states: ‘I realise now there’s no way that I could do my job without Asperger’s… because of my neurological differences. ’ This however is contrasted with his visit to a pioneering facility of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) who effectively see autism as something to be ‘cured’. One particular concerning moment even sees a medical professional make a direct link between autism and cancer, as he describes their treatment as ‘educational chemotherapy’. Chris Packham was diagnosed in 2005 (Picture: BBC) Chris, while remaining impressively professional following the comments, does show his disdain for the treatments errors; highlighting how the disjointed layouts, loud environment and uncoordinated colour schemes would have been unbearable with his hyper-sensitivity. Segments which roll back clips of his presenting on The Really Wild Show also demonstrate his pain at pretending to be ‘normal’ in front of the cameras, with an illuminating sporadic tangent which is eventually laughed off by the studio audience and his co-presenter showing how his difficulties were misunderstood at the time. English naturalist, nature photographer, television presenter and author Chris Packham (Picture: Roberto Ricciuti/Getty Images) Chris Packham Asperger’s And Me results in a convincing case of why society needs to change its approach and attitudes towards autism of all kinds. A powerful, personal and visually striking documentary which isn’t to be missed. Chris Packham: Asperger’s And Me is on Tuesday 17th October at 9pm on BBC Two. MORE: Springwatch presenters Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan warned over naughty innuendos MORE: These photos just won the Bird Photographer of the Year Awards 2017
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