Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
I made the purchase of Autism And Me through Jessica Kingsley Publishers after reading an email newsletter from the site. This is a 2007 release of a DVD and booklet. The DVD is double sided with the blue side for PAL (UK and Europe) and the red side is for NTSC (US). The music on the DVD was composed and recorded by Tom Hoy with Gerry Hoy also performing one song. These are Rory's parents with his cousin Michael featured in one segment as well.
I have since found Autism And Me on amazon.com, but only when searching the entire site and not limiting it to the DVD. It seems this is listed under books only without an image. I scanned the cover of my copy and submitted it to amazon for customer images. The list price at JKP is $24.95 in the US, but at amazon it is listed for several dollars less.
Over the years I have read of families and those on the autism spectrum prefer to either use the term "autistic" or "someone with autism". I try to specify in my writings "someone on the autism spectrum", but am not consistent with this term and will refer to my children as being "autistic".
I noticed that the author and star of Autism And Me utilizes both terms. The back of the DVD box states the following, "Only people with autism truly know what it's like to be autistic - and even then every autistic individual is unique!"
Rory Hoy is a film maker in the UK with three of his thirty films shown on BBC tv in the UK. Autism And Me has received a Royal Television Society nomination along with three national awards. The film and book are dedicated to all people with autism all over the world. The book consists of thirty pages covering the following subjects:
Taking Things Literally
The 'Other' Me
About the Author/ Film Maker
The running time for the DVD is noted as twenty minutes on the back, or to be specific according to Rory in the introduction the DVD is 19 minutes and 22 seconds. The book contains thirty pages with the images being the same as the DVD.
I perused the book on Friday prior to my son Nicholas returning home from school. Later that afternoon I asked him to read it through. I wanted to see if Nicholas agreed with the examples portrayed in Taking Things Literally and what his impression and feedback was on the Random Thoughts.
Rory holds up a white paper with four squares where there are numbers written in each box. He mentions that his teacher would ask which number is larger and in his autistic mind they were all the same size (referring to their shape and not the actual numbers). My son Nicholas did not comprehend this the way Rory initially did. A funny example was how the teacher would ask students to write down the days of the week and Rory would write down the same exact sentence the teacher stated.
The Explain section was amusing. Rory shared how he would react when he would be told by his mother not to eat something and this made no sense to him. He said that it was confusing since his mother really meant that it is almost time for lunch and you should not eat that. He suggests that people say things the way they really mean them. Rory goes on to explain how someone with autism should not really tell the truth when they get a present that they already own for their birthday, and instead say thanks and go to the shops for something else.
Prior to Nicholas reading through Autism And Me I told him that in the UK a Mother is referred to as Mum, so he would know beforehand what that meant. He was very curious to know why that is and how Rory became a film maker. We would like to suggest that Rory write a book on that experience helping other young people with autism learn how to achieve their dreams.
Besides Mum being different they also refer to stores as "shops", which was not as confusing since we had recently viewed the BBC show After Thomas and they used similar terminology.
Rory also covered how he had to be taught to wave back to someone when they wave at you and shared how distracting it can be when trying to cross a street with the loud noises. This is also true for walking along the streets and the bustling crowds. Rory likes to follow the same routine each day.
"For me, waking up every day was like having a blank page in front of me. No writing, no clues what to do. He goes on to share these sentiments, "You really have to help us and teach us what we have to do. I had to be taught these things, not just a few times but for a few years. We can get our 'wires crossed' and don't always understand our emotions."
Rory compares normal people as those with divided attention while autistic people have 'single attention'. Rory had a few obsessions as a young child, one was always having to get catfood at the shop. His family did not have a cat but luckily his grandparents did.
Rory assumes it must have been hard for his parents, but noted they always understood him. In the random thoughts section Rory tells of being scared of dogs, likes to smell things and likes to listen to music to block out odd thoughts.
Two days later we viewed the DVD of Autism And Me, which started out with loud music and Rory on a train ride. Nicholas wanted to follow along with the DVD by holding the booklet and seeing which images were on the screen and in the book. He was disappointed that the obsession with cat food was not mentioned in the movie.
My son Nicholas is ten and wanted to mention the following as part of the review from his perspective:
The movie was very descriptive in helping kids with autism, and a better understanding for those that live with kids who have autism. The film helped give an understanding of what life was like for Rory and even though you have autism you can still make a movie. Rory was being silly playing in the snow walking backwards and looked to be having fun putting together this movie.
This was a good incentive for my son to know that he can achieve things in life. I would recommend Autism And Me to families, relatives, siblings, teachers, therapists and other professionals to have for their own collection and to share this with other children and families. This is what autism awareness is all about.
Educational Autism Tips for Families 71 page resourceful ebook for families entering the school system with a recent autism diagnosis. Find out what issues take place over the course of a school day and meet these challenges head on.