By Kaylee Baez
The Westfield PTC-Special Education Committee organized two events that focused on awareness of the social aspects of autism. The committee planned a screening of the award-winning documentary A Teen’s Guide to Understanding & Communicating with People with Autism by freshman Alexandra Jackman, and also invited Psychologists Dr. Joanmarie A. Sackles and Dr. Leslie J. Newport to explain how parents of children with autism can better help them create successful relationships with friends and siblings.
According to Jackman, her documentary focused on helping teens learn about autism to instill a better understanding for those with the disorder. Jackman said she hopes to display the film to larger audiences. She added that her documentary has already been screened at the Palm Beach International Film Festival and the New Jersey Shore Short Film Festival. Additionally, she will speak to 200 students at a nearby high school this week.
The documentary was created as part of the TR Scholar program, in which eighth graders apply for the opportunity to work with a teacher on a year-long project focusing on their interests, according to Jackman. She added that she intends to raise money to have the film translated into Spanish and several other languages.
Said Jackman: “There are so few resources out there for many communities.... I would love to make it available to all.”
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