A is for Autism takes a warm look at the world of autistic youngsters and adults, using their drawings, live footage and commentary in a fashion that enthralls as well as educates.
Director Tim Webb’s experience as an animator led him to realise that there was a quality in some autistic children’s drawings that would lend itself to animation. In 1991 Channel 4 Television commissioned him to explore the possibility of making a short film for their ‘Disabling World’ season to give a general audience a small window into the condition of autism.
In the UK no film had ever been made about autism which included contributions from autistic people themselves. Animation appeared to offer a useful technique to combine work from a number of autistic contributors, and to engage an ordinary viewer with the experiences being recounted and portrayed within a film.
Tim Webb researched the project for a year, reading academic studies, collecting authentic work by people with autism, talking to workers professionally involved with the condition, and meeting autistic people and their families. A is for Autism was then made as an ‘animated documentary’ based upon contributions and collaborations with autistic people which gave them, quite literally, a voice of their own.
Released in 1992. 11 min. Director: Tim Webb. Short TV documentary.