National Autism Awareness Month (AAM) kicked off yesterday and today is World Autism Awareness Day. This month I'm ramping up this blog's coverage on autism. In addition to my weekly Wednesday Autism/DisAbility posts, some of the time I'll be bleeding the autism focus on over to at least my weekly Arts Friday post as well, such as today. It was here a year ago, that I first featured filmmaker Erik Linthorst, his film, "Autistic-Like," and his family's unusual (or not-so-unusual) journey. In October, I was invited by The Atlantic to comment on Erik's film. My response was also posted here. I originally served at the local autism community liaison with the Nashville Film Festival's showing of Erik's film, which then led me to meet with him after the festival and form a friendship with this talented, creative, passionate father and filmmaker. Here's the letter from Erik that's kicking off this month's emphasis:Dear Leisa,
I hope all is well with your daughter, and your book.
Every week I get email and traffic from readers of your blog, so I thought I would send this update about our year with Graham, the issues and the movie- -I hope you will pass it along.
Friday, April 2, is World Autism Awareness Day. To me, it seems like the perfect day to remind parents: It’s Not Always Autism. Your blog is an important grassroots source of information, inspiration and comfort for parents trying to help their children. Thank you for telling your own stories, and spreading the word about "Autistic-Like: Graham's Story."
THE MINI SEQUEL IS COMING! Please check our website, www.autisticlike.com, this summer, when I plan to post a short movie showing Graham’s progress over the past couple of years. Many moms, dads and professionals write to ask how Graham is doing, so I wanted to let you see for yourself!
THE ISSUES ARE ADVANCING! The push to have Sensory Processing Disorder Recognized in the DSM-5 is moving forward. An interesting development: While Asperger’s Syndrome will likely be folded into the Autism diagnosis, there is still a chance that SPD will be defined discretely, which could help many families get coverage for therapy. You can add your voice at: spdfoundation.net
AUTISTIC-LIKE:GRAHAM’S STORY has had a wonderful year screening around the world. The film has won two awards, was selected for nine film festivals and has been seen by audiences on every continent in over 125 venues! I have traveled with the film to an international child welfare conference in Ireland and later this month I will present the film to a
University in Monterrey, Mexico. Every week I hear from parents and professionals who screen the film in schools, clinics, teleconferences and homes. Later
this year I will present the film to special educators in Alberta, Canada and I continue to travel all around the US to professional conferences and parent gatherings, screening the movie and talking with people about the issues. We are still searching for a broadcast outlet and talking with distributors and
welcome any ideas you have for getting on your local PBS stations. Thanks to Bahamian Television for being our first broadcast!
Again, many, many thanks to you for your support of the film and the many good wishes sent to me, Graham and Jennie. Here’s to another year of making a difference for kids with special needs. Please stay in touch. --Erik
This month also also kicks off three From Heartache to Hope events in conjunction with AAM. Please mark your calendar: Sat., April 17, 12-2, Whole Body, Green Hills book signing. On Sat., April 24, we have two events. From 1-2 we'll be signing at Cool Springs/Franklin Borders. After that, we're making a crazy, wild dash to the Main Nashville Public Library, where we'll be signing before ITVS Community Cinema's free screening of "The Horse Boy." Although the film is a separate event from our signing, I'll be among several participants on a panel discussing the movie. Watch here for weekly updates. Also, we'll be talking about From Heartache to Hope with local anchor Meryll Rose of Channel 5's Talk of the Town at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Apr. 22. Thank you for your support of our book, our local and national autism communities and other disAbility communities. Your support, interest and understanding truly counts!