Areas need the brightest

Jonathan believes that society should be as inclusive as possible. He feels that elitist policies exclude the potential of many more people than it attempts to help.

The so-called “vision for education in Wales” of David Davies AM is no more than a recipe for buck passing (Time to turn education on its head, May 22).

Mr Davies describes the education plans of the Assembly Government as “nonsense” and “damaging children’s future prospects” – this comes from the man who said that the way of dealing with young people with behavioural problems is to lock them all up.

His proposed solution of moving the brightest pupils out of deprived areas would do nothing to improve the education of those learners who want to succeed but do not have the right amount of support.

It is the brightest and most determined people that growing communities need to hold on to, not ship off to where the grass is greener.

These are the people who have the entrepreneurial drive that brings about change and it is they who are best placed to help those less fortunate reach their full potential.

New technology offers hope for autism and social phobia

Research at the University of Glamorgan could soon help sufferers of autism and social phobia take part in social situations they usually find difficult and confusing.
The research investigated using Internet-compatible mobile phones to educate socially-impaired people about what is being said to them during a conversation so that they do not misinterpret its context. Although the technology is still in its infancy, preliminary findings have shown that individuals with autism find using the system helps them understand the meaning behind common expressions, when they often interpret literally.
Postgraduate student Jonathan Bishop, of Efail Isaf, who has led the study, said: “This is an exciting development in assistive technology and could offer a solution to the half-a-million socially-impaired people in Britain who find social environments challenging and stressful.”
The technology, which uses 3G mobile handsets, works by reading the facial expressions and tone of voice of the person being spoken to and lets the person using the system know what they are feeling – something people with autism and social phobia sometimes find difficult.
But Mr Bishop stresses that the technology should not be seen as the answer to the problems of socially impaired individuals, and more support needs to be offered to them to prevent social exclusion.
“This system is not the complete solution to the problems of socially-impaired individuals,” he said. “Communities and government bodies still need to work close together to ensure people with social difficulties can play an active role in society and achieve their full potential”.
Autism Awareness Week runs from Sunday, May 11, to Sunday, May 18, and is promoted by the National Autistic Society.