Watertown, MA - June 30, 2021 - The Asperger/Autism Network (AANE), a national nonprofit based in Watertown, MA that serves the Asperger/autism community, recently held its summer conference on Autistic Representation in Television & Film. Co-hosted by autistic actor Lillian Carrier from the hit Freeform series Everything’s Gonna Be Okay, a star-studded lineup of actors and industry professionals discussed their experiences and the importance of accurately portraying and including autistic individuals in writing, acting, and production.
The conference included an interview with Jason Katims, father of an adult son on the spectrum and executive producer and writer of the TV hits Parenthood and Friday Night Lights. Katims discussed his new untitled autism comedy-drama series for Amazon Prime Video based on the Israeli's series On the Spectrum. He cast three autistic actors as the leads in the series, had all neurodiverse characters played by neurodiverse actors, and hired a neurodiverse production crew as well. “There’s this spirit of inclusion that has been growing over the last few years, which is great, and I feel like I want to make sure that neurodiversity is part of that when we think about inclusion and diversity on the screen...” said Katims.
The conference also featured a panel discussion of both autistic and neurotypical industry professionals spanning acting, writing, filmmaking, and production roles. Autistic actor Sue Ann Pien, from Katims’s new series spoke about masking as something many autistic girls and women tend to do, but that her role in the upcoming series was a significant change. “This role was so different and amazing…. [T]he character’s arc--Violet--she was just this beautiful, beautiful human that, you know, I instinctively, intuitively knew where the struggles were… because there were so many parallels between us. And I’ve never had that experience in acting up until now because acting had been hiding myself.”
The public can purchase access to a recording of AANE’s Summer Conference to view through July 30.
AANE is a nationally recognized non-profit organization that works with individuals, families and professionals to help people with Asperger’s and similar autism spectrum profiles build meaningful, connected lives. AANE provides information, education, community, support, and advocacy, all in an atmosphere of validation and respect. To learn more, visit www.aane.org.
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