Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Jackson 4

Interviewed this very interesting lady today called Jacqui Jackson. She has seven children, four boys and three girls. All four of her sons are on the autistic spectrum. She is a single mother, who's also doing a pHD. Impressive, no?

Bizarrely, we did the interview in an empty, furnitureless room on Pentonville Road, an unused top-floor office of the publishing company who prints her books. Both of us sat on the floor, me cross-legged like some eager Buddha, her leaning against the wall.

She didn't have much positive to say about the education system (which was the focus of the interview), not surprising as it hasn't really done many good things for her sons ("Bullying will teach them to stand up for themselves" "Your son messes around in class" etc). There seemed to be a long line of teachers who don't know how to deal with the boys - not that surprising, as I imagine it's not exactly easy to teach autistic kids. So she's really had to fight for them.

Jackson was also rather admirably unflustered by the fact that Helena Bonham-Carter is playing her in a forthcoming BBC documentary. Apparently Helena is "very nice".

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