Are you listening? Are you watching closely?

Last week I began to review the video footage from my pilot study. To recap, I shared Isabelle Marinov’s ‘Leo and the Octopus’ with four children who attend a local primary school. Two are autistic and two are neurotypical. Once the book was shared, I asked a series of questions related to the book and the representation of autistic characters.

As I previously blogged, I found the experience invaluable. On reviewing the footage even more has come to light. I was impressed by the insight of such young people (aged 9-10) in relation to autism and disability. My heart swelled at the comment from one of the neurotypical boys:‘the book is important because it shows people that they can go over to an autistic person and ask to be friends.’ Just wonderful!

Leo is an autistic little boy who feels like an alien

The review process is lengthy, but it does not feel laborious, because the data is so rich. It will be interesting to see if such insights and opinions are the norm, or if this group just happened to be particularly understanding. Only time and further research will tell.

The pilot was more than I had hoped for, but that is not to say that I did everything perfectly. Here are my top tips:

  • Ensure that the camera is not facing a window, as you may inadvertently film children outside (luckily, I realised when tested the set up of equipment).
  • Test your equipment and camera skills. My iPad’s camera has proven to be ideal, but I have purchased two angled lights in case of lighting challenges.
  • Make notes of questions that occur to you as you go along.
  • Give yourself a few minutes breathing space in between interviews.
  • Learn how to use your tech: my daughter taught me how to view the footage and have a word document open at the same time. As a technophobe, that was a big leap!

Today, I will continue to analyse the data, by reading through the transcriptions and annotate them.

I’m also meeting with my supervisors, to feedback about the pilot and discuss the annual review process. Oh, and then teach this afternoon at the bookshop. Just an average day in my hectic, but pretty great life.

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