Donaldson Trust’s short film puts neurodiversity in the frame

The Donaldson Trust has released its first educational training tool, a short animation film, as part of Neurodiversity Celebration Week.

Wednesday, 18th March 2020, 6:38 am
A still from the short nine-minute animation entitled Walk In My Shoes, created in partnership with Erin Davidson.

On Monday, the trust released a nine-minute animation entitled Walk In My Shoes, created in partnership with Erin Davidson (17). Erin is currently supported by the Linlithgow-based Trust’s #JunX10n transitional support service for children and young adults.

The animation aims to increase understanding of neurodiversity and reflects Erin’s experiences.

It shares her story about living as an autistic young person and the huge impact this can have on every aspect of life, but in particular during the early years of schooling.

Erin said: “I wanted to create this short film to give people an insight into what a day at school can be like for an autistic young person. While many people may know the word ‘autism’ that doesn’t mean they understand it or the impact it can have on people of all ages.

“My wish is for this animation to be used widely as a learning and development aid for school staff, professionals and families. I know I’m not just speaking for myself when I say that school can be an incredibly difficult environment for people with neurodiversities and I hope this animation will help staff and pupils understand what someone can be experiencing at school.

“While the film shows my story, it has been created in partnership with a number of other young people in #JunX10n who all have similar experiences.

“I wanted to reassure other people feeling the way I did that they’re not alone. It can be incredibly isolating at times and easy to feel like you don’t belong or ‘fit in’ but that says more about society than it does about us as individuals.”

A collaborative tool, the short animation utilises the skills and expertise of some of the young people currently supported by the #JunX10n transitional support service offered by the Donaldson Trust. From contributing to the illustrations through to the stop motion animations, set design and creation, and additions to the music.

Laura Watkins, chief executive of the Donaldson Trust, said: “We hope that education establishments will consider using the animation to show teachers and pupils from a young age what neurodiversity is and the impact a lack of understanding and support can have on individuals.

“If we look at the way society has changed its perceptions on mental health, we can see that a similar approach would benefit the awareness raising of neurodiversity across educational establishments.

“I am incredibly proud of Erin and everyone involved in creating this animation. It was initially for Erin to share her story, but I believe her courage will allow Erin and the trust to truly make an impact on changing the way neurodiversity is understood.”

Produced by Muckle Hen in partnership with the young people at #JunX10n, and jointly funded by the Donaldson Trust and the John and Lorna Wing Foundation, the full Walk In My Shoes animation can be viewed at www.donaldsons.org.uk/walk-in-my-shoes.