Motivations – Why?
- Give primacy to the voices – and other ways of expressions for those who do not speak – of neurodivergent people.
- Show that the notion of neurotypical corresponds to ‘behaviour that meets cultural expectations’ and that these expectations vary greatly from one culture to the next.
- Highlight that there are many different ways of communicating and collaborating, and that the practices within mainstream cultures may be profoundly disabling and unhealthy for some people.
- Highlight that there are many different learning styles and that education and parenting needs to be moulded around individual preferences and sensory needs.
- Show the diversity among neurodivergent people and that neurodivergent traits are often hidden.
- Show that neurodiversity is as old as life on Earth and nothing new.
- Show that neurodivergent people are at greater risk of trauma in a toxic society / sensory environment.
- Illustrate the shortcomings of ‘standard models’ of human development and related theories that are assumed to be universally applicable.
- Illustrate the number of neurodivergent people across all professions and the urgency for cultural change and acceptance.
- Present the discovery of individual neurodivergence as a positive journey and profound learning experience.
Audiences – For whom?
- Members of the public with no/limited/distorted understanding of neurodiversity
- People who are neurodivergent but currently not aware of the fact
- People who suspect that they may be neurodivergent
- People who have recently received a specific diagnosis
- People who question their specific diagnosis
Content – What?
There are two important audiences for the documentary:
A. The audience for the multi-part documentary series consists of
- people who are neurodivergent but currently not aware of the fact,
- people who suspect that they may be neurodivergent,
- people who have recently received a specific diagnosis,
- people who question their specific diagnosis,
to equip these people with tools for finding and connecting with neurodivergent peers.
The series is envisaged to consist of six parts covering the following themes:
- Reflections on life, relationships and society by autistic and neurodivergent elders and neurodiversity activists
- The development of unique individual autistic and neurodivergent learning systems, skills, knowledge, and world views
- From learning about autism and neurodiversity, via identifying as autistic and/or neurodivergent, to the social model of disability
- Diagnosing the ills of society, and the dangers of neurotypical monoculture and human education/normalisation factories
- Examples of success on autistic and creative neurodivergent terms, and of the challenges, struggles, and trauma along the way
- Autistic culture, intersectionality, autistic community, and autistic collaboration
B. The audience for the full-length documentary movie consists of members of the wider public who are only aware of autism and neurodiversity via the distorted lenses of mainstream news media, corporate PR campaigns, and the autism medical industrial complex.
Production – How?
The content for the six-part series and the full-length documentary movie themes will be sourced from up to 13 small self-organising production subproject teams that work independently to focus on the following topics / questions that have been suggested and prioritised by members of the wider project team as follows:
Subproject A: The history of the concept of neurodivergence, beyond autism and beyond the labels and cultural bias inherent in the DSM, and going back to even earlier times and terminologies.
Subproject B: Segments about what neurodivergent people actually do in ‘real’ life.
Subproject C: Discussion of autistic and neurodivergent styles of collaboration.
Subproject D: Illustrating the journey of discovering neurodiversity and autistic community.
Subproject E: Unique stories of discrimination for simply being yourself and of how to engage with institutions to educate, change practices, and reduce the incidence of such experiences.
Subproject F: Interviews of critical and/or neurodivergent psychiatrists and psychologists.
Subproject G: Interviews of autistic and otherwise neurodivergent medical professionals.
Subproject H: Teasing apart individual cognitive differences from traumatic experiences and corresponding coping mechanisms.
Subproject I: Buddy teams (interviewer and camera) in different geographies / cultures that ask random people to illustrate current levels of knowledge / ignorance / stigma of neurodivergence:
- How many autistic people do you know?
- How would you know someone is autistic?
- Are you aware of any TV/movie characters that are meant to be autistic?
- Why do you think autism is referred to as a ‘spectrum’?
Subproject J: Illustrating that neurodivergent people are usually hidden and anyone you see could be neurodivergent
Subproject K: Illustrating the diversity of support needs to function in this society
Subproject L: Illustrating the diversity of contributions of neurodivergent people to society after receiving appropriate supports
Subproject M: Examples of peer-to-peer support and advocacy organisations that have fully embraced the neurodiversity paradigm and that reject the use of pathologising language.
Subproject N: Talking about neurodivergent parents raising neurodivergent children in neurodiversity friendly ways.