Autism VR

Anrick

Autism VR

The Party is The Guardian’s latest VR film, directed by Anrick Bregman and Shehani Fernando. It offers a glimpse of how a person on the autistic spectrum copes with a stressful environment.

Autism VR

The Party allows you to enter the world of an autistic teenager, Layla, who is at a surprise birthday celebration. You will hear her thoughts about what she is experiencing and how it is affecting her, and share the sensory overload that leads to a meltdown (an intense response to an overwhelming situation). The drama provides viewers with a powerful first-person perspective on the challenges that social situations may present to someone on the autism spectrum.

Autism VR
Autism VR
Autism VR
Autism VR

The Party is based on a concept by the author Lucy Hawking and is written by Sumita Majumdar, who drew on her own experiences as a person with autism in similar social situations. Throughout the film, viewers hear Layla’s thoughts, voiced by the autistic teenager Honey Jones. The storyline was developed after extensive focus groups and interviews with people on the autism spectrum as well as with input from the National Autistic Society, the Autism Research Trust and the University of Cambridge Autism Research Centre.

The visual and auditory effects in the film were based on scientific research about the kinds of symptoms seen in autistic individuals, such as difficulties with processing faces, and hypersensitivity to lights, loud noises and strong odours. Interviews conducted with autistic women also revealed they had issues with how things sound during a meltdown, including having difficulties distinguishing between sounds, hearing echoing voices and being unable to process the other information around them.

Autism VR

You can watch the film as a YouTube 360 video. If you want to watch it as a VR experience, download the Guardian’s new VR app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store and watch it using Google Cardboard or Daydream.

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