Video on Autism Awareness Australia website

In category ADHD & Autism, Book, Video, Product Reviews, Communication Theory

On the Autism Awareness Australia there is a little video. You can find it in the right hand column of their webpages or see it on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7IFs3cIRak (read on for the transcript)

This video would be ideal for a class on teaching political rhetoric.
Here is the transcript…

1. Autism is a complex neurological disorder that lasts throughout a person’s lifetime
2. More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with aids, diabetes, and cancer combined
3. Autism is the most common developmental disorder in Australia
4. Children are being diagnosed with autism every day… every few hours
5. One in 166 children born will have autism
6. Three out of every four autistic children are boys…
7. the fourth is a girl
8. 30,000 Australian children have autism
9. Noone knows the cause… there is no cure
10. … but there is hope…
11. for me
12. for me
13. for me
14. and me
15. and me
16. Through research, activism and education we can improve the lives of families with autism
17. Early intensive behavioral intervention can help families achieve the best outcome for their child
18. It’s helping children learn how to learn
19. Doctors use to recommend institutions to people with autism…
20. … now we’re aiming at university
21. Autism is stealing the minds and personalities of a generation of Australian children
22. Just think…
23. If 30,000 Australian children were kidnapped it would be front-page news
24. Well 30,000 Aussie kids have been kidnapped… by autism
25. And we need to do everything we can to bring them back to us
26. Don’t let autism have the last say in a family’s life
27. For more information go to Autism Awareness dot com dot au
28. If you don’t know someone with autism, you will


I am no stranger to political rhetoric. It is part of my academic training, I can use it, and I can recognise the techniques in action. Rhetoric is used to persuade and to shift prevailing views. In itself, it is neither good not bad, it is a tool of communication. Indeed, my article, Falling by the Wayside is an exercise in political rhetoric.

When I wrote my article, I used the techniques quite deliberately. I was asked to write an article about gifted underachievers, the bright children whose academic achievements seemed to lag so far below their abilities and even drop out of school. The predominant view is that the children are simply lazy and could do better if they tried. I sought to shake the assumptions so the readerships might take a fresh look at their situation. My aim was to open up discussion.

The heavyhandedness of the techniques in this video would make it an ideal example for students going into marketing and political speechwriting. Let’s have a look and consider some of the decisions that must have been made in its construction.

  1. Black and white images, slightly stretched in plain, barren sets. These are all carefully chosen – for what effect?
  2. The use of known actors, both male and female, all popular and trusted. Do you recognise them? Why do these actors work in a way that some other actors, or unknown faces, may not?
  3. What stereotypes are they targeting?
  4. What metaphors are they using?
  5. Who is the target audience?
  6. What emotions are they targeting?
  7. What is the aim of the video?

One aspect of political rhetoric is that it connects with the emotions and reinforces the views of their target audience. Other audiences will react differently. How did you react to this video? Did you feel that it opened or closed discussion?

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