Saturday, 25 August 2012


I've now returned to the UK following a holiday in Cuba - the statistics around their education system are fascinating, although I admit to having done zero 'on-the-ground' research into this.

Whilst over there our only English-language news came from CNN and an item that caught my interest was research coming to light that suggests a possible link between autism and the age of the father. The theory is that older fathers pass on more random genetic mutations, particularly as they reach the over-40 bracket. The research was originally published in the scientific journal Nature, which means we can give it more credence than say, a Daily Express headline.

On my return to the UK I looked the story up again on the internet, and found that this research has been picked up by our media. Amongst others, The Independent carried it although it concerned me that Autism was described as an 'illness' by their writer and a 'disease' by the quoted researcher

I think Autism, at least from an educational perspective, is best described as a 'condition' - with honest acknowledgement of the difficulties it brings matched with a focus on the possibilities and opportunities, as demonstrated by this article from the This Is Plymouth website.

Thinking of the students identified with ASD that I've worked with over the years, many of whom love comic books and science fiction, it made me smile when one of the CNN commentators observed that the reported genetic mutations are in fact what drives forward evolution  - and could eventually lead to a new breed of human being - the X-Men sprung immediately to mind...

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