Autism futures: TV review: ‘Katie Price: Harvey and Me’

February 18, 2021

Still from ‘Katie Price: Harvey and Me’

Exposure’s autistic author Max Ferreira reviews new BBC One documentary on media personality’s disabled son

When I sit down to watch TV, I’m surprised by how some shows are still able to produce new episodes during the pandemic such as ‘Top Gear’ and ‘Junior Bake Off’. One programme that really caught my attention in this lockdown was a documentary called ‘Katie Price: Harvey and Me’.

This BBC One Documentary, aired in January, looks at the life of TV reality star Katie Price’s 18-year-old son, Harvey. He’s about to start a new chapter in his life transferring from school to college. Katie Price must make some decisions to find something suitable for Harvey’s future needs.

Harvey has autism, Prader–Willi syndrome (PWS) and Septic Optic Dysplasia (SOD), a rare genetic disorder that affects his eyesight, so he needs 24-hour care which includes ensuring he takes medication and has check ups with his doctor in London.

What I like about the documentary is how Katie Price shows her love for Harvey and is determined to help him gain independence and find something suitable for him when he finishes school.

A scene that really stood out to me is when Katie visits a lady to talk about the lady’s son, who has autism and was sectioned. This refers to when someone is kept in a hospital under the Mental Heath Act 1983 for safety reasons, due to their behaviour.

Katie described learning about the lady’s son as “heartbreaking” and goes on to say: “We were scared for him. Families like ours have to fight constantly for every bit of support our children need.”

The programme shows how vulnerable young people shouldn’t be taken away without parents’ knowledge and input into life-changing decisions.

‘Harvey and Me’ is a very useful resource for learning about how young people deal with autism

Similarly, ‘My Autistic Big Brother and Me’ (which I reviewed here) shows how sectioning can happen as a result of ‘aggressive’ behaviour and a lack of understanding of autism.

In an interview with Katie Price about the programme, she says: “It’s not about empathy, it’s just a quiet, nice documentary about me and Harvey, doing a transitional move for him to go to college.”

As someone with autism, I found ‘Katie Price: Harvey and Me’ heartwarming and inspiring. It’s also a very useful resource for learning about how young people deal with autism, learning difficulties and any other complex needs as well as the importance of having the right support in order to succeed.

Like Harvey, I went through a lot of changes in my life since finishing secondary school. But with help from my family and access to the right resources for my needs, I have been able to achieve improved college qualifications, learned how to drive and got a job in retail.

I highly recommend ‘Katie Price: Harvey and Me’ to everyone for understanding that each young person with autism and learning difficulties experiences different ways of becoming an adult.

Watch the trailer for ‘Katie Price: Harvey and Me’ below:

Also check out this article on autism and the Mental Health Act and this interview with Katie Price on ‘This Morning’.

Our thanks to Thrive LDN’s Right To Thrive grant scheme for making this project possible.