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Distribution of “Autism Is A World” to Departments of Special Education at Colleges and Universities across the United States and Canada

The NLM Foundation supported the distribution of DVD copies of the Oscar-nominated documentary film, “Autism Is A World”, to nearly 650 Departments of Special Education at colleges and universities across the United States and Canada . The goal of this project was to provide departments of Special Education with educational materials for use in the training of undergraduate and graduate students in their programs on issues related to autism and augmentative and alternative communication. “Autism Is A World” provides a unique and candid look into the world of autism through the eyes of Sue Rubin, a 26-year old Los Angeles woman diagnosed with autism at age four. Rubin, who had no effective means of communication, was considered to be mentally retarded until the age of 13 when she began using alternative and augmentative communication as a step leading towards independent communication. Written by Rubin herself, the 40-minute film details her innermost thoughts regarding her experiences of living with autism, relationships with others, and perceptions of self. Throughout the film, Rubin provides insight into the challenges of being an individual, disabilities-rights activist, and college student living with autism. The film was nominated for a 2004 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and received the 2005 Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Film & Digital Media from the Council on Foundations. “Autism Is A World” also received the 2005 Media Excellence Award from the Autism Society of America, the 2006 Edward R. Murrow Award for National News Documentary, and a 2006 CINE Golden Eagle Award.