Autism Awareness Videos
Snowflakes – 2014
In 2014, my son Jacob and I wanted to create a message for the new year that put autism in a positive light. Following the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting that left 27 children dead there had been some negative media regarding autism when it was announce that the shooter, Adam Lanza, possibly had autism.
My son, who is autistic, struggled with this. He felt there was an unfair burden now placed on all autistic people to prove we were in fact empathetic beings and not unstable potential perpetrators of violence.
We also became frustrated with the hijacking of the autism narrative by organizations that saw autistic people as burdens. The puzzle piece quickly became the symbol of autism, another weight upon our shoulders to justify our existence.
Jacob, who was 14 at the time, wanted to help me change the narrative and so we talked about what symbols we liked better to represent us. We chose the snowflake.
Snowflakes are delicate and require special circumstances to be. They fall quietly from the sky and when they accumulate in numbers, they change the landscape to a beautiful wonderland. Though snowflakes can cause burdens and be difficult at times, it is because of snowflakes that we can build snowmen, ski down mountainsides, and watch amazing feats of athletic ability showcased at the Winter Olympics.
In 2017, Spectrum Autism Support in Atlanta displayed a tree decorated with snowflake ornaments at the Festival of Trees. The ornaments were made by Autistic people and featured our story of making the snowflake the new symbol of autism.
Raise Me Up – 2013
I want people to see the bright side of autism and how we are capable of so much with the people who raise us up. The scarf is for the Six Degree Project created by the students at Northern Secondary School in Toronto. I sent out an email asking for submissions from other Autistic people. I only received two which to me was a sign that talking about our Autism in front of an audience was still a very new thing.
CREDITS: Director of photography, Allana Rain. Thank you also to my very good friend Anna Spence for her consultation on the project, to my other friend Anna S. for the guidance on wardrobe, and to those who have supported us to bring a more polished finish. With each effort, we will get a little better at this wonderful medium called film.
Let Me Fall – 2011
Let Me Fall was my first Autism Awareness video, and is in serious need of an updated look. The song, Let Me Fall, was originally performed in Cirque de Soliel. I felt the words fit my message perfectly so I recorded myself playing the piece on the violin. Using my Mac’s built-in microphone and iMovie, I created this film short to show in my keynote presentation.
Despite all of my falls, I wish to show people that strengths may not be immediately visible to those on the outside, but to remain believing in those of us with autism. None of the people features in this video have autism, however they were all doubted by people around them. I feel a kinship to them because of their struggles.
My Violin Cries – 2009
Done on a zero dollar budget with a borrowed mini DV camcorder, this film was designed for the Agnes Scott Film Festival, winning Honorable Mention. This was my very first attempt at filmmaking, which is obvious to anyone who knows a little something about film making. I even attempted a remake of this film, but there is something to say for the magic of first time projects. This film was born out of a deep desire to share a story. I had written this in one sitting just a few months after I had come public with my Autism diagnosis. It really is a special film, despite its flaws.
Original Description: Asperger’s is often misunderstood when it comes to passion and empathy. It is a common belief that individuals with Asperger’s lack empathy and the ability to experience human emotion on the broad spectrum which society believes is inherent in the human race. I believe this is a misconception and that individuals with Asperger’s express their passion in unconventional ways. My Violin Cries is a short documentary about my journey through mournful emotions after the loss of my violin teacher and mentor Stefanie Graef Carr. In this film I show how my special interest in music was not only the language I shared with Ms. Stefanie, but in the end the way I cried for her.
The Occasional Vlog
Occasionally, I vlog about my thoughts rather than type them out. These videos are usually on the spot filmed with whatever is handy.