On April 27, Autism Speaks partnered with PBS’ This Emotional Life to present a webinar called “Growing Up With Autism.” The webinar featured a panel of scientists, parents, and individuals with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) explaining what it is like “Growing Up with Autism.” Dr. Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D, the Chief Science Officer at Autism Speaks and Research Professor at UNC Chapel Hill led a discussion with Connie Kasari, Ph.D. (UCLA), Holly Robinson Peete, and John Elder Robison, addressing the challenges that face individuals with an ASD and their families as they are initially diagnosed, navigate peer interactions and age out of services as they enter adulthood.
If you missed the webinar, we encourage you to watch it online and share your thoughts.
This is a guest blog post from our friends at Vulcan Productions and NOVA/WGBH…
On the eve of a new year, as millions of Americans search for more meaning in their lives, Vulcan Productions and NOVA/WGBH have teamed with Harvard psychologist and best-selling author of Stumbling on Happiness, Professor Daniel Gilbert, to produce This Emotional Life.
This Emotional Life is a two-year outreach campaign anchored by a three-part, national broadcast series on PBS (airing Jan. 4-6, 2010) that examines the science behind our emotions, the challenges to our well-being and the keys to leading happier lives. We are so excited to engage the Autism Speaks community in our campaign. Everyone who lives with autism understands what an emotional journey it can be. This campaign aims to provide individuals with resources to make that journey a little easier.
Spearheaded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s Vulcan Productions, the project includes the PBS series – which features compelling personal stories and cutting edge research, along with revealing insights from celebrities including Larry David, Alanis Morissette, Robert Kennedy Jr., Chevy Chase and Richard Gere – a dynamic and content-rich website, a national outreach campaign and educational toolkits created to support topics within the series.
The first show focuses on relationships – how they’re built and why they’re important to human happiness. One of the stories in this first show is about Jason, a 29-year old man with Asperger’s syndrome. Jason discusses his constant struggle reading others’ emotions and signals, making it difficult for him to form relationships. He shares his daily struggle to be successful in social situations, a common issue for people with autism spectrum disorders. His story offers viewers a glimpse into the difficulties and frustrations those living with autism often face in their everyday interactions. You can take a look at some of Jason’s story here:
The campaign will continue on for two years post-broadcast. Through our website, the distribution of our early childhood attachment and military family toolkits, and several other initiatives, we will continue to promote the mission of this project. We are partnering with great organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, Mental Health America, the Mayo Clinic and the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration.
You can view the trailer and learn more about the program on the “This Emotional Life” web site.
It is our hope that this campaign will offer you and your families support – whether it is through relating to stories like Jason’s, or visiting our website and finding information, resources in your area, or support from people just like you.
For more information, go to www.pbs.org/thisemotionallife.