• Tue. Jul 26th, 2022

Between the cosmetic surgery, reality shows, tabloid stories, ghostwritten novels and autobiographies (six so far with a seventh in the pipeline), and the very public spats with former husbands, boyfriends and fellow celebrities, Katie Price — the erstwhile P…

Jan 26, 2021

Between the cosmetic surgery, reality shows, tabloid stories, ghostwritten novels and autobiographies (six so far with a seventh in the pipeline), and the very public spats with former husbands, boyfriends and fellow celebrities, Katie Price the erstwhile Page 3 model formerly known as Jordan has spent the last 25 years monetising virtually every aspect of her life.
Normally, any programme with Prices name attached is a cue to scramble urgently for the remote control and switch to something else.
Harvey and Me (BBC1), however, about Prices search for a residential college to accommodate her special needs son Harvey, required you to check your preconceptions about her at the door.
The leap of faith was rewarded by Hannah Lowess documentary, which was affecting yet commendably free of manipulative sentimentality.
The Price we saw here wasnt the slightly chilly figure familiar from the covers of a million vapid, trashy magazines, just a loving mother whos deeply concerned about her vulnerable sons future.
Harvey is the firstborn of Prices five children. His father is ex-footballer Dwight Yorke, who hasnt seen his son since he was a little boy and appears to have no interest in ever being a part of his life.
Harvey is 18 now; an adult. But inside his 6ft 2 in, 28.5 stone body his weight is the result of a hormone issue his doctors dont fully understand hes still a little boy.
He was born with septo-optic dysplasia, an extremely rare genetic condition that affects only one in 10,000 people. His vision is impaired, hes on the autism scale and has the cognitive ability of a seven-year-old.
He suffers from a complex range of other conditions and is a singular case in the UK.
The film opened with Price administering Harveys daily dose of medication. Theres a lot of pills.
Half of it is to keep him alive, she said, the other half is for his behaviour.
Harveys behaviour can be quite unnerving. When hes feeling calm and happy, hes sweet, affectionate and funny, with his mother and his younger siblings, two of whom were glimpsed here.
When hes scared, anxious or feels threatened, he can lash out, unintentionally posing a danger to himself and others.
The sound of a door banging, said Price, can trigger him to smash a window.
Evidence of Harveys destructive outbursts was visible in the holes punched in the plasterboard walls of the Price home.
In one distressing scene Harvey, upset by what are everyday sounds to us but scary sensory overload to him, began repeatedly banging his head hard against a door.
When filming began, Harvey was about to start his final year at the special school hes attended for years. Hes resident there from Monday to Friday, as the daily trip back and forth became too stressful for him to cope with.
Now that Harvey has turned 18, Price has to find a residential college that will be able to see to his needs until he reaches 25.
Ive got to let him have the best shot at life he can, she said.
The documentary followed her as she checked out several potential options and met other mothers who faced similar predicaments with their own children. The stakes are high.
One woman told Price how her 15-year-old autistic son was sectioned by the local authority, supposedly for his own protection.
His care involved restraints, forcible injection with medication and long periods in isolation.
He was saved, said his mother, when a trusted doctor intervened and demanded his release.
Price learned sectioning of autistic people is disturbingly common. The film showed fame and wealth cut no ice and no corners.
The decision on whether Harvey is admitted to a particular college rests entirely with the relevant local authority, who provides the funding.
She finally found an ideal placement, but wont know until March if her application succeeded. A follow-up film surely beckons.
Herald