Video series to shine a light on young Albany locals living with autism

Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
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Emily O’Brien and Bayden Redshaw are documenting the lives of young people living with autism in Albany.
Camera IconEmily O’Brien and Bayden Redshaw are documenting the lives of young people living with autism in Albany. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

Giving Albany youths living with autism a platform to share what makes them unique is the mission of a pair of budding filmmakers with their own stories to tell.

Interviewer Emily O’Brien, 20, and videographer Bayden Redshaw, 24, are leading a new project by the Autism Support Network Albany putting a spotlight on the lives of locals aged 16 to 22 with autism spectrum disorder.

Let’s Embrace Diversity — Albany Autism Awareness Project will feature short videos that explore each participant’s experiences and interests, in the hope of connecting them with like-minded community groups.

Members of Albany Light Opera and Theatre Company’s Let’s Shine group, Ms O’Brien and Mr Redshaw will lead the project, taking their turn in front of the camera to open up about how living with autism shaped their lives.

With a love of filmmaking that started at the age of 12, Mr Redshaw said he was excited to give others an opportunity to show who they are.

“Sometimes you can feel like you are being put away in a box — we are just hoping we can unpack that box,” he said.

Emily O’Brien and Bayden Redshaw are documenting the lives of young people living with Autism in Albany.
Camera IconEmily O’Brien and Bayden Redshaw are documenting the lives of young people living with Autism in Albany. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

“The cool thing is, it is on the person with autism in front of the camera telling their story.

“It is giving them a raw platform to be themselves. I’m just hoping that it really opens people’s eyes and they see a bunch of individuals who have an interesting and unique story to tell.”

Ms O’Brien’s confidence from her experience on the ALOTCo stage made her a good fit for interviewer.

She said she hoped the videos would help to “disable the label” often put on people living with autism.

“Some misunderstandings are that because we are different, that means that we have to stay different,” she said. “It is just annoying that people say, ‘You are autistic, you can’t do this’.

“With the videos, the aim is to say, ‘Yes, this person is autistic and that is fine’.”

The team are still on the lookout for participants to interview, with the final videos set to feature on ABC Heywire.

To take part, call project co-ordinator Janet McArtney on 0401 203 557 or visit the Let’s Shine Facebook page.

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