March 29th SLNYSARC Film Fest in Recognition of Autism Awareness Month

St. Lawrence NYSARC, a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to working for and with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and St. Lawrence University are cohosting a Sprout Film Festival sponsored by Blevins Brothers on Saturday, April 14, 2012. The Festival is taking place at St. Lawrence University’s Gulick Theatre in Canton, NY. Screenings will be held at 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. and highlight films related to intellectual and developmental disabilities. Additional sponsorship is being provided by North Country Public Radio, and Potsdam Elks Lodge #2074.

Each session features different films and subject matters. The 2:00 p.m. screening will run for 90 minutes and includes 11 short films on several types of developmental disabilities. Themes for the movies include: the politics of disabilities, rock music, and the viewpoint from fathers of children with disabilities. Four movies focus entirely on Down Syndrome. The 4:00 p.m. session is on Autism Spectrum Disorders, as St. Lawrence NYSARC recognizes April’s Autism Awareness Month. This screening will include five films and also runs about 90 minutes. These movies show individuals in college, as artists, and a contestant on a quiz show! Two of the short films are animated and completely from the perspective of people with Asperger’s.

“The Sprout Film Festival is being offered thanks in large part to our sponsors, and also to the community members who support our annual Autism Awareness Walk in September,” said Daphne Pickert, CEO/Executive Director of St. Lawrence NYSARC. “This Festival is a great celebration of the accomplishments of people with disabilities, plus the movies are both entertaining and thought provoking!”

Autism Spectrum Disorders are a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral changes. More people are diagnosed with autism in one year than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes, and pediatric AIDS combined. Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States. St. Lawrence NYSARC has seen a significant increase in referrals for local children on the Spectrum over the past five years.

With early diagnosis and interventions, thousands of children with autism have shown significant improvement. St. Lawrence NYSARC’s Children and Youth Services doubled in size in one year. The program strives to assist with daily living skills, self-care, household chores, personal health care, personal financial management and appropriate social skills, just to name a few of their direct goals.

Admission to the Sprout Film Festival is free and this event is open to the public. In addition to the movies being offered at the Festival, St. Lawrence NYSARC will also provide resources and information for services available to people with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

March 29, 2012