Special Needs

Children with special needs are better off being educated in special needs schools because if a child had Dyslexia for example and he or she was in a Mainstream school and was asked to read what’s on the board and they can’t, the teachers would think he or she was being lazy where as if they were in a special needs school then the teachers would understand.

Tourette Syndrome

I used to have a DVD of a documentary called Tourette De France. It was about a group of Scottish teenagers who had Tourette Syndrome and the group was lead by a man named John Davidson who has it himself and has appeared in the 1989 documentary John’s Not Mad. In ‘Tourette De France’, the group were offered permission to visit the hospital in Paris where Tourette Syndrome was first diagnosed.

Actor Keith Allen, father of recording artist Lily Allen came with them on this trip and on their way they stopped for lunch in Canterbury and Keith asked one boy named Callum Davidson what form of Tourettes he had and he explained to him that he had quite a bad case of OCD and Keith asked him how it came out and Callum explained to him that at home he was really fussy with foods and that he could only eat certain foods if they’re on certain plates, bowls only if they’re cooked by certain people in a certain way. Keith asked him about eating at school and Callum said that sometimes he never really ate at school.

Then they went inside Canterbury Cathedral and the group leader John explained to him that for him to sit and talk to him, he needed to be able to trust him and that he needed to trust his friends and family and that they wanted to show people that there were sides and elements of the condition that maybe other TV companies wouldn’t. Especially the thing about Asperger Syndrome and the Autism link because there are huge scientific links between OCD, ADHD, Tourettes, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Asperger Syndrome and the Autism link. Information is over crowding the brain and that the brain doesn’t want to do it so it ends up scrambled and then you get these bizarre behaviours to deal with what’s going on inside.

Keith later explained to him on the ferry that it was quite interesting where they were going and that the French had only just recognised Tourettes as neurological and that the implication was that it’s always been psychological and that he was able to control it or it was his fault or if it was neurological than he was kind of admitting that it wasn’t his fault because he was incapable of controlling it. John said that he was absolutely correct and he said that they know when it’s Tourettes and they know when it’s not and that he needed to be aware of that and that’s what he encourages and that he encourages a child if he’s suppressing a tick, try not to suppress it and let it come out because people would understand and that they should put a T-shirt on a child saying “This child has Tourettes”.

When they were in France in an outer city Leisure park and after the rafting another boy named ‘David Irving’ explained to Keith that if he was walking through a park at night he always thought the worst of things like he could see a TV in his head and a newsflash saying, “Young boy killed in a park”, and he was thinking it was actually going to happen and that he gets all worked up about it. Keith asked him if he was in situations at school where he was in line for dinner and he was desperate not to tick and David explained to him that he could hold it in but he learned not to do it anymore because when he gets out of the queue it could be a big massive outburst like hundreds of swear words all at once.

After their visit at the hospital in Paris where Tourettes was first diagnosed, they were playing football and another boy named ‘Ryan Miller’ explained to Keith that he was a brilliant footballer but incredibly he’s been sent off twice for ticking. He said that he swore during the match and the referee didn't quite understand but he hadn’t been told and that’s because he wasn’t diagnosed with the condition at the time but he was the second time. Keith then asked him if the people at school knew that he had Tourettes and Ryan said that they kind of did but they never seen him tick like that before because he suppressed it and that because he’s around with people with Tourettes he’s just letting it all out. Then Keith said “What you just hold it all in at school?” and Ryan said that he goes into his room and lets it all out.

I Swear, I Can’t Help It

There was another documentary about Tourette Syndrome that was transmitted on 28th May 2009, and it featured John Davidson saying that sometimes his brain is telling him that somebody’s staring at him and somebody’s watching him and somebody’s drove past and laughed.

He’s now an active member of the charity, Tourette Scotland which apparently didn’t exist until 1994. He organises weekend get together’s so that children and adults with Tourettes can share their experiences. He works at his own community centre and he says that he feels safe and comfortable there. I could be wrong but think there should be community centres like that everywhere for children and adults with Tourette Syndrome when enough people hear of it eventually.

I personally think that it would have been better if the condition never existed in the first place because it’s not fair on anyone who suffers from it.

Aspergers Syndrome

Part 1

I was absolutely appalled to discover that there were autistic children being educated in Mainstream schools and not getting the support they need for them to reach their full potential and that there were ex-pupils who have had the exact same experience.

I used to say that autistic children should only be educated in Autism Schools because of the high risk of them being badly bullied there or excluded from there. In June 2006 I wrote a letter to my local MP about my concerns of that and soon after, I got a reply back from schools Minister Lord Adonis and even though it’s been on the News, I think it should be on the News more often but at the end of the day it’s up to them what they put on it. In March 2008 I wrote to him again and some of it was old but most of it was new.

Derek’s Letter To Bob Russell

Dear Bob Russell

I just like to say thank you very much for the letter you sent me and the letter that you sent to my Mum. I thought I’d write to you again even though I know I’ve written to you before and I know I’ve mentioned some of this to you before but this is what I want to say.

I really do think that every autistic child should only be educated in Autism Schools when there are enough of those in the UK and that’s what I demand. And it’s because every autistic child who is being educated in a Mainstream school is at high risk of being badly bullied there or excluded where as in an Autism school there is none of that I suppose and if there weren’t any places left for them then they can be taught at home till there were places for them. I mean they can have the choice but that’s how I feel about the whole thing.

I am angry to discover that they’ve been forcing autistic children into Mainstream and if they haven’t stopped closing special schools yet then they need to stop it happening as soon as they possibly can and pretty quickly. And I could be wrong but some of them that have closed down should be reopened as Autism Schools.

I am absolutely appalled to discover that there are autistic children being educated in Mainstream Schools and not getting the support they need to reach their full potential and that there are ex-pupils who have had the exact same experience.

It’s the kind of thing that needs to be discussed more on the News, Question Time, This Week and Newsnight. I don’t see it being discussed enough on television.

Every autistic child needs to be diagnosed at a young age before they are to start school.

I’ve recently seen something on the News called City College* for adults with autism and I felt quite pleased that they’ve opened up something like that but at the same time I’m feeling depressed because it’s in Norwich and it’s a shame I don’t live there because I want to go to somewhere like that. There needs to be colleges like that everywhere in the UK especially in Essex and if there was one in Essex and that I would be able to go there my life would be more social.

Yours Sincerely

Derek Rogers

* I now realise that it is a unit at City College and not the whole College. Bob Russell did get a reply back from schools minister Andrew Adonis but for me it was so complicated to understand which is why I’ve decided not to have it on my website.

Part 2

In September 2013, I wrote to Bob Russell again, but this time it was via email. I also typed it down in a word document before sending it to him, and I had been working on it in the space of over a month. It was spread over two pages, and I printed it out to take to him, and it was on both sides of a sheet of paper. I write this when I was 26.

Derek’s Email to Bob Russell

Dear Bob Russell

Many autistic children find it difficult to cope in Mainstream schools. The Government is doing the right thing by making the school leaving age go up from 16 to 18 because of the high unemployment levels, but what I am extremely concerned about is that if autistic children are being forced to stay in Mainstream schools until they’re 18, it would probably mean that they would have an extra two more years of suffering there, so even though there is a positive with the school leaving age going up, there is also a negative with it, though I am far from blaming the government for not fully thinking this through because I know that most of the time they mean well, and I’m very much hoping that what I’m talking about here will help them to see and recognise the flaw in what they’re doing, because although they would make the high unemployment levels subside by increasing the school leaving age, at the same time, it would be their fault if autistic children who are being educated in Mainstream schools would get bullied there for longer, therefore they would be to blame for something that they don’t mean to happen, or wouldn’t really want to happen.

With autism people can have a unique ability to concentrate and learn things that others find repetitive and mundane. Autistic children find it difficult to process information to them that’s fed by their senses, so in an average classroom for instance, they might not know what sounds to prioritise; chatter, ticking clocks, birdsong, banging, air conditioning, or the teacher’s voice. They all come through at the same intensity, as do smells and visuals. I am NOT going to try and make the government make the school leaving age go back to 16, but I want MORE AND ENOUGH to be done about the right schooling for autistic children, which is why I want the word to go out about it, and I FIRMLY believe that it would help prevent autistic children from getting bullied in mainstream schools for longer, and it’s VERY, VERY important that they get this absolutely right so that with the school leaving age being changed to 18, there would JUST be the positive in it and NOT the negative in it for children on the autistic spectrum.

I obviously DON’T expect the whole world to revolve around me and what I want, but I think that it’s something that actually SHOULD be talked about in the UK news, though I wouldn’t really want to be interviewed on the news as appearing on television doesn’t appeal to me, and the fact that I don’t watch the news because it’s all too depressing for me, although I suppose my mum is watching the news and it does get mentioned on it, she can always call me to tell me that it is being mentioned on the news. It is with EXTREME importance that what I’m talking about here DOES make news, as I firmly believe that I’m the one who has spotted the flaw in the school leaving age going up, and it’s a flaw that absolutely MUST get recognized and not go unknown.

I don’t like the idea of autistic children suffering in mainstream schools for an extra two years, which is why it is with CRITICAL importance that enough gets done about autistic children being taught in the right environment, Just think of it as me making news in the same way as when Jamie Oliver made news by launching a campaign for healthier school dinners in the UK, or like when Jade Goody made news by saving lives by making loads and loads of women get tested and checked out, or like when former BBC cameraman John Henshall made news by rediscovering the lost performance of David Bowie’s The Jean Genie on a 1973 episode of Top Of The Pops.

I am a 26 year old man on the autistic spectrum, and I was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism at the age of four in 1991, and when I was younger, I hadn’t actually realised how lucky I was that I was diagnosed that young, because I’ve heard of people with Aspergers being diagnosed much later than the age of four, including friends of mine who are also on the autistic spectrum. I think is also DEEPLY important that just before starting school, every child in the UK should get tested for a diagnosis of Aspergers so that all children are placed in the right school, though I know that the majority of them wouldn’t actually get diagnosed with Aspergers. This would obviously be something brand new to society like when passengers started being checked for fluids in their baggage at airports. There would need to be more facilities for diagnosis with enough professionals with an understanding of autism.

I really don’t want anyone to think I’m saying that it should become compulsory, but I STRONGLY believe that it would not only be to make sure that they would get put in the right school, but I also believe that it would also help to prevent all future autistics from being diagnosed too late in life. Just think of it as a thing of the future in the world. It’s EXTREMELY important that this all goes ahead, not just for me, but for all the autistic children who need support. I also think that all children getting tested for a diagnosis of Aspergers and most of them not actually getting diagnosed is a bit like passengers being checked at airports and most of them not carrying anything dodgy for their flights.

I personally would be ever so disappointed, and probably absolutely devastated if none of this actually goes ahead, as I feel it would be one of the BEST ways to make the world a better place, and the fact that I’m one of those people who wants to make a difference for it, but as I say, I don’t expect the whole world to revolve around me and what I want, and the fact that 26 is obviously old enough to know that you can’t expect the whole world to revolve around you and what you want. I sometime have sleepless nights worrying about how even a child with special needs would cope in a mainstream school for longer. For example, if the teacher asked the child to read what’s on the board, and they couldn’t read what’s on the board, the teacher would think that they are just being lazy, and I don’t want that sort of thing in my world as I feel that things like that wouldn’t be acceptable for me.

It would just mean so much to me if it all went ahead, as I personally would be over the moon if it did and that my mood would be at an all time high, though I know it would only make a minor change to the world and not exactly a major change; and the fact that I believe that it could be one of the best answers to all autistic children getting the support that they need. I sincerely HOPE that it will go ahead, and I really want it to, as my heart will be jumping in case it doesn’t, because my mood would be at an all time low if it doesn’t. As I say it may only be a minor change, but it would be a minor change to the world which I would be most proud of. It absolutely MUST come into effect, as I believe that it would make such a difference for autistic children, and that I would not just be making news, but making history as well, and that I also believe that what I’m talking about is probably the BEST possible solution to the problem that I’ve discovered with the school leaving age going up.

Derek Rogers, 10th September 2013

I had an appointment with him on the 26th of September 2013, and I took the piece of paper with me to show him, and I had discussed with him the things that were mentioned in the email and in the bit of writing. It was a coincidence because it was my Mum’s 50th birthday that day.

Part 3

This is the shortest section of this part, I have been asked to provide a link to the Dopa solution’s article on Asperger’s Syndrome. You can find it at

A Brand New Idea For Education in Schools

I’m adding this bit to my website in March 2015, and hoping that this will be something that does come into effect before long. Some time ago, they said on the panel show Loose Women, that in schools, they should teach children the fact that “you cannot please everyone”. I think that if it is to happen, at the same time they should get them not to choose to displease people on purpose. They should tell them that they should please as many people as they can, but not try to please everyone all the time as it’s not possible to do that.

I’ve got two Hattytown Tales DVDs, 6 six episodes on each one. One of the episodes on one of those two ‘Hattytown Tales’ DVDs is called ‘You Cannot Please Everyone’ and that episode is a message to children to explain to them that it is not possible to please everyone. The episode is the fifth one on the ‘Hattytown Tales’ DVD, Hattytown Tales - Going Fishing; the ‘Going Fishing’ bit is the title of the first episode on the DVD.

I think that they should have that ‘Hattytown Tales’ DVD in all schools including special needs schools, and that the teachers should get the correct year pupils to watch the episode in class called ‘You Cannot Please Everyone’, and by showing it to them, they should teach them that it is not possible to please everyone, though at the same time, they shouldn’t tell them in advance what happens in that episode, but after they have watched it, the teachers should discuss it with them. They would need to just go to the episode selection on the DVD, and they should find that episode easily, and like I say, it’s the fifth of six episodes on the DVD. As well as showing them that episode, they could also give talks to them for example to further explain the concept that you cannot please everyone.

In the episode, Sancho suggests to Milko that he delivers the milk, bread and letters one day, for Mr. Bun to deliver everything the next day, and for Posty to deliver everything the day after that, and that they should take it in turns so that they get time off. Milko, Posty and Mr. Bun decide to give Sancho’s plan a try, and on the first day of the plan, it’s Milko’s turn, and he says to Simon that he had brought his bread and letters as well as his milk, and Simon says, “Well I suppose it will mean that I get my milk late, but at least my bread and my letters will be early”. Next, when Milko says to Bobby that he had brought his bread and letters as well as his milk, Bobby says, “Well I suppose it will mean that I get my milk and letters late, but at least my bread will be early”. He then said that the bread looked rather squashed under all the letters. When Milko says to Mr. Wimple that he had brought his letters and bread as well as his milk, Mr. Wimple replies, “You have done what? I was wondering where Posty and Mr. Bun had got to as well the lazy scoundrels. I usually have my milk, bread and letters much earlier in the day”, and Milko said apologetically, “Yes, it is making me rather late. You see, I’m not used to delivering bread and letters as well”, and Mr. Wimple said angrily, “Not only is everything late, but my sticky buns are squashed and my letters are sticky!” At the end of the episode, Sancho said, “Sometimes, you can go off someone. Even if he is your very special friend”. I’m not insinuating that all children should grow up with ‘Hattytown Tales’, just the message from that episode.

I also know that ‘Hattytown Tales’ first appeared on television in the late 1960s, and that we are currently in a period of history where children are growing up with cartoons like Peppa Pig for example, and that they weren’t around in the days of ‘Hattytown Tales’, so I would try not to dominate too much what the present and future children would grow up with. I also know that ‘Hattytown Tales’ will be a part of history more and more as the years pass, and will eventually be 100 years old later this century. It’s getting on for 50 years old later this decade, so though I want this idea to come into effect and stay in effect, I hope I won’t be preempting too much what children grow up with. There are other messages to children in other children’s programmes such as ones in The Adventures Of Parsley which are “We all make mistakes” and “You can’t win” in episodes ‘Sage’s Birthday’ and ‘Buried Bones’ respectively. Other messages to children include “If you can’t beat them, join them” and “Nobody’s perfect” in The Adventures Of Portland Bill Episodes ‘The Jam Session’ and ‘An Inspector Calls’ respectively.

I just think it’s very important that all children should grow up with that message from that ‘Hattytown Tales’ episode because it’s probably one of the most important messages of all to children, though I know there are other important messages to children in programmes for them. That sentence comes from a fact that I grew up watching comedy programmes as a kid, and I know that comedy programmes are far from being messages for children and what they should know. I did watch children’s programmes as well when I was growing up, and I didn’t so much realise at the time that they had messages in them for children.

The teachers should ask each and every pupil if they struggle with feeling scorned, and if there are any pupils that do, they should watch the ‘Hattytown Tales’ episode called ‘You Cannot Please Everyone’ enough times until they can really understand the message in it, and to learn not to worry about things like that, and each pupil who succeeds at that won’t need to watch it again once they’ve learned that lesson. This whole idea comes from the fact that it’s a shame I didn’t have that episode when I was a child. The first time I saw ‘Hattytown Tales’ was when I had it on VHS in the days when we had video machines, but I only saw the episode I’m talking about in late 2014 after I ordered on Amazon the two ‘Hattytown Tales’ DVDs that are available.

I hope the whole idea won’t be like one against many, as I know some people say that all children should be taught things like cookery and gardening for example. Just think of this as a brand new idea coming into affect, like when the London congestion charge came into effect in 2003, like when London’s Route Master Double Decker buses were finally removed from service in 2005 although I think they still run them on a couple of special tourist roots, and when the Smoking ban came into effect in 2007. I know some children may have the DVD called ‘Hattytown Tales - Going Fishing’ already that the episode is on so they may have understood the message already, and I think the teachers should ask each and every pupil if they’ve already got the DVD, in which case they won’t need to watch that episode in class if they’ve already seen it at home for example. I’m really quite worried that this won’t come into effect. I know that if it did, it wouldn’t be via demonstration seeing as I wouldn’t be confident enough to do one myself, and it probably would be via petition for example.

Rather like History teachers showing their classes the last episode of Blackadder Goes Forth to teach them about the First World War, what is explained above in the previous eight paragraphs would be a brand new educational solution and should help pupils not to worry about what others will think about them even though there will be some children who wouldn’t worry about that sort of thing anyway. It would also be like in sex education classes where the teachers might show DVDs to help classes understand about sex and becoming parents.

Below is a picture of the cover of the ‘Hattytown Tales’ DVD with the episode on it for those who are trying to understand what I’m talking about.