Employable Me on ABC last night

I have been following this outstanding series for the past three weeks. Last night was the final episode.

Employable-Me

I share the enthusiasm of the people on this thread.

Employable Me follows people with neuro diverse conditions such as autism and Tourette Syndrome as they search for meaningful employment.

This uplifting, warm and insightful series draws on experts to uncover people’s hidden skills and to match job seekers to roles that can harness their strengths.

We all deserve a role in society. That’s what this show is about: striving to belong and play your part. The series looks beyond first impressions to reveal there’s always more than meets the eye.

Anybody else catch this last night?

Wonderfully crafted into an entertaining, yet thought provoking piece, by the producers who I assume are the same ones behind the “You Can’t Ask That?” series. A refreshing break from the other mindless ‘reality’ TV drivel that is awash on commercial television.

It would be hard to call yourself a human if not one little bit of empathy is drawn from you after watching this…

One of the three featured last night was the amazingly talented Cain Noble-Davies.

9612516-16x9-700x394

See Fighting to fit in: Growing up with autism.

Cain Noble-Davies, 22, was just seven years old when he was diagnosed with autism, but he remembers it like it was yesterday.

“The immediate question that came into my head was, ‘what’s wrong with me?’

“Being told right there that there is something that objectively makes you different from most other people is pretty hard for a kid,” he says on this week’s episode of Insight.

While many look back at primary school with a feeling of nostalgia, for Cain, socialising never came easily and he recalls his school days as some of the worst of his life.

“It would have been what I’d call socialising at gun point.

“All the students had to get along with each other because fighting doesn’t make for the best schools and it is genuinely difficult for me to socialise even at the best of times because I am not that good when it comes to reading social cues.”

Cain’s behaviour and difficulties interacting with other children that would contribute to his depression, anxiety and the dramatic circumstances of his eventual diagnosis of autism.

Cain’s mother, Gretchen Broer, says that she had never heard of autism before Cain’s diagnosis in the 90s, when there was not as much awareness about it as there is now.

Cain was initially diagnosed with Semantic Pragmatic Disorder instead.
Autism was never mentioned when Gretchen took him to doctors as a child, concerned about his slow development, difficulty with speech and aggression.

“The word autism never came up… I didn’t know what that even meant, semantic pragmatic disorder.

“He just said, ‘that’s what it is, that’s explaining the delays and off you go’ and there was no further discussion about it.”

But when Cain’s aggressive behaviour continued in the playground, Gretchen was confronted by parents at school and things got worse.

“I had a woman dive in front of my car when I was pulling out of the school car park to abuse me that Cain had ripped one of her children’s hats.”

“Parents would confront him as a small child, reprimanding him… I felt isolated and Cain was totally isolated at school… it was a nightmare.”

It all came to a head one morning when Gretchen received a phone call from Cain’s school.

“I got the call from the school saying I had to go up there very quickly, there was an emergency.

“I got there to find out that Cain, at seven, had written a suicide note and jumped off the second storey building at school.”….

Do read that whole story! And in Cain’s own words: Autism and job interviews: what it’s like trying to find work when you have ASD. Now Cain writes film reviews on his own blog and for FilmInk, for example Goodbye Christopher Robin .

See also this very thoughtful analysis of the show and the issues: Employable Me has struck a chord but will it change employers’ attitudes to disability?

I was particularly interested in Employable Me because from 2000 to 2005 one of my duties at Sydney Boys High had been mentoring some students on the Autism Spectrum. Back at the turn of the century I was like many of us unaware of Aspergers, so my own learning curve was steep indeed. Of the five I mentored I had a degree of success with maybe three! (One is still a Facebook friend.) I was not working alone of course. There were experts visiting the school, and our two counsellors were great. So I should add was one of the parents, a tireless stirrer and advocate on behalf of her son and “Aspies” generally. Looking back too, with hindsight strengthened by Employable Me, there are some of my past students who fell between the gaps. It was all very new to us back then.

# Do visit Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia.

Advertisements

Class of ’95 remembered — and “not Cricket”!

In October 2015 I posted: Class of 95 remembered, and Muslim students today. One student I mentioned there is Jeremy Heimans (now also a Facebook friend.) Do read a great profile of Jeremy by Malcolm Knox in the April Monthly.

He has co-written a book, New Power: How Power Works in our Hyperconnected World – and How to Make It Work for You, which carries personal endorsements from Richard Branson, Jane Goodall and Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza. Heimans might be the most connected and influential Australian on the world stage, yet his profile here is minimal. As GetUp! co-founder Amanda Tattersall says, “Jeremy is a complete genius, but nobody here knows who he is.”

jeremyheimans

Well, I know who he is! 🙂

No-one surely could have watched Steve Smith’s emotional press conference yesterday without being moved.  Unless of course you are a British tabloid headline-writer, who managed to be as foul as you would expect from serial scumbags!

I just hope this whole sorry episode leads to a renewal of the more traditional manners of test Cricket. Australia’s new captain seems to have made a good start.

Of course there is from many viewpoints something quite bizarre about the whole matter, as Ross Gittins noted in his excellent commentary, and today even more trenchantly Martin McKenzie-Murray in The Saturday Paper.

A good number of Australians may have been shocked last Sunday morning, but the rest of the cricket world had their belief in our hypocrisy deliciously confirmed.

Hard but fair. The gentleman’s game. It’s just not cricket. There’s a surplus of empty pieties this week, usually invoked in inverse proportion to one’s knowledge of the sport. “Cricket is synonymous with fair play,” the prime minister said. “Integrity is written into the heart of this game,” Guardian Australia’s sports editor wrote.

Really? The game of Bodyline and Underarm? Of Hansie Cronje and Saleem Malik? The game of the News of the World match-fixing sting, and Australia’s tour of apartheid South Africa? Or the game of Shane Warne and Mark Waugh’s light collusion with John the bookmaker, imperfectly buried by Cricket Australia for a few years?

See also Waleed Aly, What the ball-tampering crisis says about us.

No other country to have committed its own ball-tampering offences – including South Africa, whose own convict is currently its captain – has kvetched about it in such a self-flagellating way. Sure, those other episodes may have seemed less shady, less ham-fisted, less characterised by appalling footage and farcical press conferences. But those players from other nations to have taken to the field with a pocket full of mints, in the belief that their sugary saliva could engineer a ball that swings more, were doing something no less premeditated and no less illegal. And unless you follow cricket closely, you’ve probably never even heard about them.

Update 2 April:

Excellent reporting and analysis on the ball tampering affair tonight on ABC’s 7.30: see The long road from Bradman’s moral lesson to Bancroft’s ball tampering.

And SIXTY years ago I….

How’s that for old?

1959sbhs2b1

From Sydney Boys High School. See Found–something from my last year at high school (1959) and Memento mori – another from the Class of 1959.

My History score crashed the following year, thanks to a bad habit of guessing what would be in exam papers… Worked in 58, not in 59. The teacher, Frank Allsopp, used me as an awful warning for several years into the 60s – by which time my History score so recovered at Sydney University that in 1962 I topped Asian History, then an exciting new field. I think I recently saw a death notice for one of the two lecturers in Asian History at that time, Marjorie Jacobs. India was her specialty. The other lecturer was Ian Nish, expert on Japan and China. It was a very good course. See also My Asian Century.

See also 50 years on – 1: a classmate’s story (2009). And in reminiscent vein: 1959 revisited, Trams down Cleveland Street via Memory Lane, The year my voice broke…, 1957 or MCMLVII and Nobel prize winner’s obituary triggers memories.

Lenny Basser, left, and my good friend Roger Dye far right.

1958 when we were 15 – Roger and I, that is.

I was living in Kirrawee in 1958.

avery

Avery Avenue, Kirrawee, where I lived 1956 through 1958, behind the tree on the left. And yes, we were close to transport. That’s the Cronulla line on the right. It took about an hour and a quarter to get to SBHS from here.

Sundays found me at Sutherland Presbyterian Church, Flora Street Sutherland, where I had recently joined the youth Fellowship.

Vintage-Sterling-Silver-And-Enamel-Presbyterian-Fellowship-Association

See Frameworks for belief — 2 – my world 1952 to 1959. A repost and À la recherche du temps perdu — 12 — some churches.

PB280458

Sutherland Presbyterian Church and manse. I was an elder here  at the age of 21, and Sunday School Superintendent. In the mid 1960s exciting events occurred in this church, the congregation mostly leaving to form the Presbyterian Reformed Church. At that time I resigned. See my 2008 post Uncertain dogma, The Shire, and related musings. See also this search for Calvin.

 

Looking back at 2017 — 10

Been doing a lot of reading lately. More on that some other time. Meanwhile, continuing the 2017 series with October.

Reading SBHS: proud

Among the many things I have been reading lately has been the 2016 edition of The Record, the magazine of Sydney Boys High, where I was a pupil 1955-1959 and a teacher variously between 1985 and 2005. See posts tagged Sydney High.

The latest Record really impresses me, capturing as it does the transformation — much for the better, in my opinion — of the school in recent years. I really recommend you have a look for yourself on the link at the beginning of this post.

Screenshot (123)

And how about this!

Screenshot (124)

Proud of the old school! Let me quote brilliant ex-student Raymond Roca:

I would like to begin by saying how privileged I feel to be able to talk to you on this occasion of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia. It was less than ten years ago (2007) that I was sitting on the other side of this podium, just like you, and it never would have crossed my mind that I would be back here at a school assembly so soon after graduation, and particularly at an assembly on the issue of homophobia and transphobia. This inaugural event is an indication not only to how far things have come socially in relation to LGBTI equality in this country in the past decade, but also a testament to the leadership position that Sydney Boys High School has held on issues of social justice and more broadly. There are still so many schools out there where an event like this would simply not be possible. So the fact that we are all here today is a testament to you and to this school, which has always been a beacon for leadership and for a progressive, well-rounded public education accessible and inclusive for all.

I would like to talk to you today about the importance of a positive recognition of diversity…

The greatest lesson that I learnt at this school was not in the classroom – great as those lessons were – but rather in the unique and fantastic exposure to difference that I received here. An exposure to and understanding of diversity that will better prepare you to be the leaders of the future that this school is so well regarded for. Thank you.

The Record 2016 page 83 

More reading SBHS

From the previous post you could — correctly — get the idea that SBHS in 2017 is a pretty progressive place. I spoke of the school being “transformed” in recent years. And it has been, not least because of the vision and leadership skills of the Principal, Dr Jaggar. He’s had his share of challenges too. Early on in his being in the job I was involved in one of them.

What strikes me though, having thoroughly read the 2016 Record and browsed back as far as 2010, is how tradition has been preserved, indeed augmented, while embracing change.

Let’s go back sixty years: and yes, I was there. See my post 1957 or MCMLVII.

sbhs541

Edgar Bembrick was the legendary Latin teacher of us mob in 3B. I was 14. He, I suspected, personally knew Julius Caesar, in fact probably taught him. In fact it appears he was born in 1890. In 2007 I wrote, referring to 1959:

Edgar Bembrick, my Latin teacher in my last year in high school — his last year too as he died before that year was over — was in some ways as boring a person as you could hope to meet, and with a face remarkably like a prune. However, there was a twinkle in the eye and an awesome reputation in his subject area: “Don’t use that crib, son; I wrote it.” He would also come into the lesson without a text book and tell us what page to turn to and would then proceed to his exposition without recourse to anything other than his memory. He once claimed to be able to complete any line of Latin or Greek verse we could throw at him. We never caught him out.

The French teacher was truly ancient, speaking a strange kind of French he apparently honed among the poppy fields of Picardy. He was quite awful, actually, so I will pass over his name.

Now English with Mr Harrison was a delight.

In 1958 I and some classmates — one Lionel Laurie among them I recall — went to Sydney University to participate in a Latin Reading Competition. My effort was no great shakes, but it was the first time I ever visited that magic quadrangle.  I was to return: Random Friday memory 18 – Latin at Sydney 1960.

Now speaking as I was of tradition. Look at this from The Record 2016. And look at the names.

On Friday June 3, Years Ten and Eleven participated in the Latin Reading Competition, held annually at Sydney University and organised by the Classical Association of New South Wales. Entrants had to recite a passage from the works of Virgil and Ovid. Students were judged by leading academics in Classics.

This year, Sydney Boys High achieved excellent results. Two students, Roy Wu of Year Ten and Sanishka Balasooriya of Year Eleven, have been selected for the final of this prestigious competition. In addition, Edward Heaney’s presentation impressed the judges and has been awarded a Highly Commended. Edward was presented with his Certificate on the night of the final in the Law Building, University of Sydney, on 1 August. Year Ten Latin presented a choral piece on the night, as normally happens when a Year Ten student reaches the final.

After their recitations, the students visited the Nicholson Museum, which currently has an exhibition on Pompeii, and then attended a lecture on the Greek and Roman Oracle, a prophetess who presented “the future” (albeit ambiguously) to those who sought her guidance.

Mrs D Matsos, Latin

But here is something 2016 offered which 1957 could not!

March 28 was a day filled with triumph. As a student who has participated in the National Chinese Eisteddfod (poetry recital) every year since 2013, I can say without a doubt that this year was the most exhilarating and competitive of them all. From the lunchtime rehearsals to the last minute alterations, every single High contestant was able to demonstrate the focus and hard-working ethic, which provided Sydney High with outstanding results.

The National Chinese Eisteddfod comprises of an individual and a group based competition. In terms of the results from the individual category, I would like to congratulate Vitaly Kovalevskiy (Year 7) who came third in the eight to twelve years age group for non-native speakers, Yeong Meng Li (Year 8) who came second in the ten to twelve years age group for Cantonese speakers, Royce Xiao who came third in the thirteen to fifteen years age group and Justin Liu who came second in the thirteen to fifteen years age group for Mandarin speakers…

Took this when I revisited the school in 2012:

P3080311

My 1987 — reposts

I watched the recent ABC series Classic Countdown with much pleasure, and frequent disbelief that it could all be so long ago now! The final episode dealt with 1987, very little of which — Countdown that is — I actually saw. I was otherwise occupied that year — THIRTY years ago!!!

My 1987: Bennett Street, Surry Hills

And in the 80s my wandering encompassed:

18. 1978-1980 Church Street, WOLLONGONG

Sydney 1981-

19. 1981-1983 Forsyth Street, GLEBE
20. 1983-1984 Boyce Street, GLEBE
21. 1984-1986 Buckland Street, CHIPPENDALE
22. 1987 Bennett Street, SURRY HILLS
23. 1987-1988 Forest Street, FOREST LODGE
24. 1988-1990 Rose Terrace, PADDINGTON

In 1987 I was teaching at Sydney Boys High, moving on for a year or so at Masada College, St Ives, in 1988.

me86masada88ab

Me: 1986, 1988

1987

1987 First Grade Debaters: M Wong, A Marshall, P Cumines, Ms T Kenway, J Waugh, D Sekel, P Silberstein

Some past posts follow:…

Golden age–really? Really? No, not really…

Posted on August 19, 2012 by Neil…

277826_4536244244605_997568651_o

That’s The Oxford Hotel in Darlinghurst on Australia Day 1988. I wasn’t there that day, but I sure was there or nearby on more days than one in 1988 – and 1989, and 1990… I see a number of faces I know in that shot, which comes from the Facebook page “Lost Gay Sydney”.  One is John Farmilo, whose Bennett Street Surry Hills address was also mine for a good part of 1987.  Not many years on from this John died of AIDS-related illness. I also see a Vietnam veteran there, former RAAF. He still used to wear his uniform on Anzac Day. I wonder if he is still with us? Later on – 1990 – M used to refer to him as lao dongxi. If you know Mandarin you will know that isn’t all that flattering. Oh well then: Lao Dongxi: Fortunately not common and obviously derogatory, lao dongxi (pronounced “laaw-dong-shee”) means “silly old fool.”  M was not being entirely serious. He sometimes referred to me in similar terms…

Glebe: my home 1987-1988

Here it is, and after that what I saw when I came out the front gate each morning. Just a few doors up in the other direction is the Forest Lodge Hotel.

049

050