To the parents of a child, or children, on the autism spectrum, or to those on the spectrum themselves, every day is in Autism Awareness Month. To those who know someone on the spectrum, either as a friend, co-worker, or relative, every day is in Autism Awareness Month. To those who advocate on behalf of, and for, those on the spectrum - to the professionals who work day in and day out with those on the spectrum, especially the teachers who teach those on the spectrum - every day is in Autism Awareness Month. However, today, April 30th, 2008, is the last day of Autism Awareness Month for this year for the majority of Americans. This I want to ask you - are you more aware than you were on April 1, 2008?
I am more aware, as I become more aware every day, as a father of a daughter on the autism spectrum. Specifically her diagnosis is Asperger's Syndrome, a form of/cousin to autism, depending on which expert you ask (It now has it's own listing in the DSM-IV, but is seperated from HFA - High Functioning Autism, by merely "when did the child begin to speak?" - that's the sole difference between the two, medically speaking). As a professional filmmaker - I have that Steve Martin in "The Jerk" ("The new phone book's here, the new phone book's here - I'm somebody now!") distinction of being listed on iMDB, for those who might want to look me up for fun. I am now in production on my second feature documentary film, a personal story about my daughter, entitled "One In A Million", a play on words of the autism statistic of "1 in 150". I will be touring the feature across the country in the spring of 2009 (almost fifty cities across the continental US), in conjunction with, and including, Autism Awareness Month 2009.
I'll let my daughter speak for herself.
You and me. I need your help in seeing this vision through, whether it's financial, logistical, or otherwise.
Today, a new version of my website, for Rembrandt Machine goes up, which now includes a section (which is almost completed) on "One In A Million", and will eventually include Paypal gifting buttons towards the film, towards the budget of $102K, of which only $50K remains to be raised (I can email a copy to anyone who would like to see it), by "Aspie Angels", those who would like to support the film in any way financially that they can, from a one time gift of $5 to $10000, or a monthly gift, from anywhere between $5 to $500 a month for one year. "Aspie Angels" will be listed in the credits of the film, and hose gifting $50 or more, either through a one time gift, or through a subscription will receive a copy of the film of the media type of their choosing (DVD, downloadable, even HD).
The website currently DOES however have a link to the merchandise for the film, of which 80% of profits will be going towards getting the film finished, with 20% going to an autism educational group, who are hosting this conference next month, which my wife and I, along with two other crew will be filming up in Chicago, for inclusion in the film.
For those who would be interested in gifting directly, as an "Aspie Angel", to "One In A Million" before the Paypal buttons go up, I can be contacted directly via todd at rembrandtmachine dot com, even if you just want to remain notified about the film, or can help out in any way logistically. I will post another diary once the buttons are up, but today, on this last day of autism awareness month, for this year, I simply wanted to posit the question - are you more aware?
Thanks for taking a little time to read this diary,
Todd Kennedy Mattson