Lest we forget what Doctor Who can do for people, Doctor Who scribe Paul Cornell posted a link from his Twitter feed to a blog post by Sarah; the mother of Eli, who has Asperger’s Syndrome.
The blog explores how the new series can be of help. She gives examples of how watching the show can help Eli to connect to the wider world through following the show. It’s an absolutely fascinating read. Especially the part about Donna and how Asperger’s children can have trouble with things that most people take for granted such as reading faces:
“’Mum why does Donna travel with the doctor when she hates him?’
“Why do you think she hates him?’ I asked a little confused, it was quite close to the beginning of her run and I would have forgiven him for thinking that the Doctor didn’t want Donna around some of the time but not the reverse.
“Because she’s always angry with him, she always shouts at him.”
He was right, she does, she gets right up close to his face and shouts “Oi Space Man!” she looks with glaring eyes and stabs the air with her finger as she speaks yet there is so much affection for the Doctor in all her interactions, how could I explain this to him? I suddenly realised she was a tough one for a kid who has trouble perceiving other’s emotions but also she was a brilliant lesson.”
Confession time: most of you are probably only familiar with me through my work with the K, so it may shock you to learn that I have Asperger’s Syndrome (and yes, I have trouble reading people). From that perspective, it’s easy to see how the show has influenced Eli and so many other children. It’s all about the mad adventures of an alien who travels in time and space with his iconic blue box and battles monsters. There’s the potential for such goodness there. What’s not to like?