Shiver paints a unique full access portrait of an entirely unexpected world: The pupils of Britain’s only single-sex school for teenage girls with autism.
“One parent a few years ago did say that her daughter was cured and she was perfectly fine now. There is no cure. This is a lifelong disorder. What we are trying to do is to give her different strategies and ways of coping with it.” Julie Taylor, Teacher.
Shiver gains access to Limpsfield Grange in Surrey that is the only state run boarding school in Britain specialising in girls with autism. The girls are aged from 11-16 and more than half of them are on the autistic spectrum. Focusing on three very different pupils, Katie, Abigail and Beth, this one-off documentary follows them over the course of six months both at school and at home, to offer a unique insight into what it means to be autistic and a teenage girl.
With increasing numbers of girls being diagnosed every year, the true extent to which girls suffer from the condition is perhaps only now being recognised. With extreme variations in how every girl presents, the school does its best to prepare each girl for an unforgiving outside world using a range of innovative methods, sometimes with tough love and always extraordinary patience.
Through these individual experiences the sensitive, revealing and at times befittingly humorous, documentary sees how children with autism can struggle to make sense of the world around them, causing overwhelming anxiety. Repetitive behaviours, routine, and obsessions are all part of the condition. And the pressure of trying to negotiate friendship can often be the greatest anxiety and obsession of all.
Girls With Autism is available to watch here on ITV Player until Friday 14th August, 2015.
It received an outstanding review in The Daily Telegraph.
The documentary was produced by Shiver for ITV and originally aired on Wednesday 15th July at 10.45pm.