On the last day of the conference, I briefly met and spoke with Alex Plank, a 24-year-old advocate with Asperger’s Syndrome. Alex is the founder of Wrong Planet, a widely popular Web site for parents and individuals with Asperger’s, autism spectrum disorders and other neurological differences. He is also a filmmaker and in late 2009, released a short documentary piece entitled "autism reality."
I had not seen the film, but our meeting in Orlando prompted me to check it out and after viewing it, I came away impressed.
The 10-minute, interview-based film shows various segments of individuals talking about autism and their perceptions of it. Among those interviewed are Dr. Temple Grandin and Alex’s parents, who talk about his growing up as a child on the autism spectrum and the struggles that accompanied his condition.
Part of Plank’s goal in directing and producing the film was to inject a new perspective into the autism debate and dispel the many misconceptions that are associated with the disorder.
This is an important film in which an autism spectrum disorder can be seen through the eyes of someone who actually has it, as opposed to parents, Hollywood actors, researchers or educators. This first-person perspective on autism is a refreshing way to better understand the mind of an autistic and the struggles they endure on a daily basis.
"autism reality" can be viewed in its entirety below.