For those who are not aware or who don’t live in the UK, there is currently a wonderful series called The Autistic Gardener. I’m not into gardening at all but my passion for autism had piqued me interest when I first saw the adverts for the show.
This isn’t your typical programme about autism and it is refreshing. As the title suggests, this follows a gardener with autism. Alan leads a team of autists who are given the challenge of renovating a range of gardens. The autists are all keen gardeners and each week they are given different jobs.
It makes a welcoming change to have an autistic narrating a programme about autism. Alan’s narration is very honest, informative and humourous. This series is able to show how if we focus on strengths you can strive. A number of the team, including Alan, are able to focus on the small details of a garden that is neurotypicals probably don’t even register. They can visualise what would work in varying spaces. Other strengths of the team include the ability to focus when working on a garden within a deadline, photographic memory and their passion and positivity.
As the weeks go by, it is lovely to see the progress each member of the team has made. For instance, at the beginning of the series Thomas who has Asperger’s syndrome, really struggled to articulate his thoughts. We saw how frustrating this was for him. Alan pushed him out of his comfort zone and allocated him as the team leader one week. This appears to have been beneficial to Thomas. He appears more confident and able to express his ideas.
I could write so much more about this fantastic series but I will leave it there. It is on each week on Channel 4 on Wednesdays at 8pm.