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Autistic children and adults sketch out the look and feel of their sensory world

What is it like to be born into a world that seems like it wasn’t quite made for you – to feel, perhaps, as if you’re tuned to a slightly different frequency than everyone else? Produced for the UK’s Channel 4 in 1991, director Tim Webb’s award-winning short A Is for Autism immerses viewers in the minds and drawings of several autistic people as they discuss their interests, dislikes, sensory experiences and the challenges of being different. The collaborative project includes a free-flowing animation based on the sketches of several autistic children alongside the perspectives of autistic people of varying ages, including the US animal behaviouralist and autism rights advocate Temple Grandin. Using sound, music and live action alongside the charming animations to evoke the sensory experiences of its narrators, the film draws out the similarities in their lived experience, as well as the vast diversity among individual autistic people. Created before the major strides in autism awareness and research of the past few decades, Webb’s film was widely celebrated at the time of its release for its original aesthetic as well as for centring its autistic contributors.

Director: Tim Webb

Producer: Dick Arnall

21 March 2022

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