Monday, November 14, 2011

The latest Newsround Special is called My Autism and Me. It was presented by Rosie King, who wanted to show viewers what it means to be autistic. Rosie said that although it can be a problem she wouldn't swap her autism for anything: "It makes me who I am. I just wouldn't be the same without it."

My Autism and Me featured a number of different kids besides Rosie.

Rosie: Because it's not always obvious that people have autism, some people think we're just mad or being naughty. This lack of understanding is one of the worst things about being autistic.

Ben: ... I was bullied at school because people didn't understand the fact that I had autism. ....... People figured I had an anger problem. They continuously taunted me, going at me. Most called me a bear. I was feared, I was hated. It wasn't fun. It wasn't fun at all. ...

Rosie's introduction to autism was easy to understand and very informative - another example of Newsround at its best. Lady Gaga's iconic Born This Way accompanied the closing title sequence.

Paparazzi is another song by Lady Gaga, and was chosen for the X Factor's Craig Colton on Saturday. Although it's been widely reported that Craig is gay and proud, it seems programme bosses wanted the words of the Lady Gaga song altered so that he was singing about fancying a girl. Many viewers expressed their dismay about this on Twitter.

In 2009 Dannii Minogue quite rightly drew attention to the X Factor's unnecessary changing of song lyrics. But unfortunately anti-gay prejudice is still frequently encountered in the showbiz industry, as well as in society at large.

Today is the start of Anti-Bullying Week, and the theme this year is Stop and think – words can hurt

The Anti-Bullying Alliance website says that derogatory language – words and expressions that are homophobic, racist, sexist or disabilist, that seek to demean particular groups and individuals - are far too common in our schools, colleges and communities." The website suggests some aims for the week:-

  • challenge the casual use of derogatory language in our schools, colleges and communities

  • raise awareness of the consequences of using demeaning and harassing language through technology

  • encourage schools, colleges and other settings to create language charters that makes it clear what is and isn't acceptable

  • give children and young people the tools to challenge others when they use derogatory language, to find new ways of expressing how they feel if they are angry or upset, and to make a conscious effort to speak positively and to compliment others

  • encourage adults to consider how they model the use of language with children and young people (this includes all practitioners working with children and young people but also celebrities and people in positions of power)

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