Tired of TV series about autistic savants? I’m starting a charity to enhance the lives of teens and adults throughout the autism spectrum, to correct misconceptions and reduce prejudice and discrimination, and to model opportunities for typically functioning teens and adults to benefit from association with those who are disabled or exceptionally abled.
Our first project is a web series, SAVING ZERO, a dramatization based on my experience co-founding a ranch for teens and young adults with autism.
Actors Bryan and Hunter Douglas reveal what brings them to SAVING ZERO. Bryan says, “I have a number of autistic family members on the spectrum. I have a niece who has the speech impediment that [Hunter] plays as Zero … I like being involved in a project that helps show this in a way that is not distracting from these kids as people.”
See Bryan and Hunter behind the scenes at Facebook.
Few if any imaginative works of art that I know of portray autistic kids at the lower end of the spectrum like my son Ben. Yet these delightful teens and young adults have much to give to society in terms of their love, humor, and friendship. What do kids, teens, and young adults with autism who are not savants give back to the society that supports them? And how are they reshaping our lives? Those are the questions I explore in my web series, "Saving Zero."
Talent and production crew at KD Studios and Conservatory in Dallas have been contributing their time, some on SAG-AFTRA deferred payment agreements, to create this dramatic web series, because they believe in the project.
Here's how director Linda K Leonard answered the question, "Why are you directing this project?"
Linda says, "I feel like the message of this project is one that needs to be heard; I feel like whatever our disabilities are, or whatever our individualities are, sometimes they’re not recognized for those, and sometimes they’re not treated like human beings. I feel like this series will bring a new kind of light to autism; I feel like it will bring … an awareness of these difficulties these individuals face in life to others, and I feel like you’re going to get to know all these young people on the spectrum and fall in love with all of them. Hopefully, the Saving Zero web series will give you a new insight on their world, their challenges in life, the people that we love, and people that we want to keep in our lives.'
This is a work in progress. Click on the face of the boy with autism to see our trailer at www.savingzero.com