Tuesday Jan 28 - The launch of Kevin Healey's much anticipated film documentary, Anti Bullying Autism Awareness. The film was made to highlught Kevin's autism anti bullying campaign. The film has been produced by Steve Cranston of Lilac Films. The film premiered for the first time in Stoke on Jan 20 and then on Jan 28 in London.
Kevin Healey is a leading autism campaigner and advocate as well as being a trustee and Ambassador for the National Autistic Society. Kevin has Asperger Syndrome.
I had the absolute privilege of meeting Kevin last October when he came to my home with a film crew to interview me for the documentary. I was shocked when he asked me if I would like to take part and I remember to my shame that I actually laughed, I thought he was joking to begin with. I just thought to myself, 'why me, I'm just Jo who's a mum and does a bit of writing about autism stuff.'
So it was a little surreal to finally watch the documentary via YouTube. The documentary itself is a short film which is hard hitting, powerful and emotional. It features celebrities who talk about their own personal experiences of bullying and hate crime as well as the views of Leo Andrade-Martinez who is mother to a grown up son on the autistic spectrum.
While watching the film I felt quite emotional as listening to all of the stories made me question and think about my little boy's future, something which is always there at the back of mind. I think that the predominant feature when watching was that when my Tom is grown I will no longer be there to protect him, so who can?
The documentary focuses upon the fact that bullying, hate crime and cyber bullying via social media sites is extremely distressing and harmful to any individual but that it is particularly more so for those individuals on the autistic spectrum and for those who are more vulnerable within our society.
As well as the main film the YouTube channel also streams the 9 individual interviews that took place including those of Dr Pam Spurr, Chris Maloney, Dawn Lowe and Dave Gentry. Kevin also talks exclusively in his interview about his own experience of cyber bullying and the reason he set up the anti bullying campaign.
I speak about my fears for my child, my Tom, now aged 5. Although now only a little boy I do fear for his future, as I do for Stephen, but with Tom there is a fragility and vulnerability there. He will be more open to abuse and cyber hate crime via trolls due to his autism. I therefore want to help Kevin in his campaign to highlight this issue and to help bring changes to UK law.
So far Kevin has 104 MP's backing his campaign and he also has the backing of Liberal Democrat MEP Phil Bennion. In February the second stage of the EDM 172 'Hate Crime Against Those with Autism', will be put forward by Ian Mearns MP in Parliament.
So the campaign is going from strength to strength.
We all need to help Kevin. We all know someone who is on the autistic spectrum or who has a learning difficulty. We can all help by sharing the documentary film on social media sites, email your MP, and show it in schools, universities and with family and friends. Most importantly though talk about it.
Kevin Healey and his autism campaign can be followed on twitter
You can watch all of the individual documentaries and film by subscribing to the KevsAutismCampaign YouTube channel here