Tag Archives: live
Autism Hangout: Anti-Bullying
Last week, I joined Autism Campaigner Kevin Healey and a few others to discuss Autism and Bullying.
Brain Bits: Research, Demonstrations and Dissection
In another one of my exploits at Manchester’s Museum of Science and Insdustry last week, I stumbled upon the ‘Brain Bits’ event. This is another great event brought about by the fabulous organisers of this year’s Science Festival, which drew to a close yesterday. In ‘Brain Bits’, various researchers set up stalls at the top floor of the museum to talk about their research and/ or products to the public. As seen on the pictures below, these people talked about topics such as Alzheimer’s disease, vision, motor skills and coordination, seizures, and more. They explained, based on current research findings, which mostly were their own, how diseases spread, develop and can be slowed down. One group of researchers actually invited the public to take part in their experiment which looked at motor skills in flies (the actual names of which escapes me!). Some also presented fascinating equipments used in brain surgery.
As a psychology graduate and a neuroscience enthusiast, I have been impressed at how these researchers and volunteeers have been able to explain their topics in ways that were accessible to everyone. As it was a free public event, the audience were of mixed ages, gender and educational background. To be able to get most of them engaged and excited is not an easy feat, but the presenters managed just fine. Here are some pictures:
Equipment to aid brain surgeons during surgery that uses MRI and CT Scan techniques:
Demonstration of how to drill holes in the skull (using a model, of course!):
Explaining the similarities and differences of brains across species:
(From the left) Brains of a pig a rat and a mouse:
PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES, NOT DISABILITIES WITH PEOPLE
Over the past three weeks, the BBC has shown a documentary (WATCH BELOW) which featured musically talented individuals with Tourette’s syndrome (TS). Tourette’s syndrome is a neurological condition characterised by uncontrollable motor and/ or verbal tics. At the time of writing, there is no known cause of the condition and hence, treatments are still being developed.
In the programme, DJ/ TV presenter Reggie Yates interviewed each of the individuals to find out the severity of their TS and the extent to which their condition has affected their lives. Reggie also found that their tics however severe disappeared whenever they sing or play a musical instrument. Doing so gave them a sense of calm. These individuals were then brought together in a studio and over a period of eight weeks, they rehearsed for a concert which they performed in front of a lot of people.
I felt that the series showed how their diagnoses are only a part of their personalities. Each of them has an incredible talent which, sadly has been over-shadowed by their Tourette’s. More often than not, people tend only to focus on what people cannot do rather than what they can do. The reason why I wrote the last sentence is due to the comments made in Twitter. Almost every tweet mentioned how great, wonderful and gifted this group of people are and that their ability to stand up and sing on the concert was a massive achievement- almost a miracle. While I agree to all of those statements, I was amazed how surprised these people are with what they saw. To me, this highlights the need for us to get to know each individual that we meet, regardless of whether they have a physical and/ or psychological condition or not, as a whole person. We should not let others’ disabilities mask who they truly are. Yes, their conditions are a part of themselves and that we need to tailor our behaviours and language to their needs. But their conditions are a fraction of a whole person. Focus on what they CAN, not on what they CAN’T do.
Working with students with Special Educational Needs gave me the opportunity to see how each individual, regardless of their condition, have a unique set of strengths, limitations and extraordinary talent. Majority of students who were surrounded with people who have a clear understanding of their diagnoses and the willingness to get to know them have flourished beyond what most professionals expected. So please, open your mind, throw stereotypes out of the window and get to know each person as a whole.
Here’s the whole series:
People in th UK can also watch Part 3 on BBC iplayer: CLICK HERE
For more information on Tourette’s Syndrome, click on the links below:
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke