Asperger – Short film Hi, this is Ainslie Gilewski Yo, do you want to come over around nine? Everyone else is here. We want to talk about something. Sure man I’ll see you later Yo that’s cool, see you later Yo what’s up? Hey Ainslie, hello! Yo, long time no see You’re late I suppose He’s always late Yo boys we can go and do another train tour soon, we really should. Yeah man, we really should, it’ll be so cool getting on any train we want, criss-crossing around the Netherlands… Think about the possibilities …wherever we wanna go Well I’m not really sure I think it’ll be fun.
Absolutely! Come on, we should do it guys, come on Come on Ainslie So there I was at the train station. Thinking: ‘What did I get myself into?’ Imagine you’re talking to a good friend, but you’re in a busy city and each and every sound reaches you equally loud. I’ll let you experience what it’s like to have Asperger’s Syndrome. Try and focus on my voice. My name is Ainslie and I’m 15 years old. I like making films, photography, writing and listening to music. What kind of music I listen to? I like listening to loud music that shields me from my surroundings. Can you hear all those sounds? Wait… can you hear my voice? This is what I hear every single day and this is just 1 aspect of the spectrum. Imagine every sound – even the tiny ones sticks in your head, repeating itself so you can’t hear anything else anymore. People often wonder if I’m still here, If I’m still listening. Am I listening? Yes, I’m listening to you. It’s just that it reaches me later because of the bird in Amsterdam I heard a day earlier. All those sounds, Can you tell they’re all at the same volume? That distracts me, making it hard to concentrate on what I was doing. Don’t you get overwhelmed sometimes? I’m overwhelmed right now to be honest man… Did you get any sleep at all? Sometimes I try to get calm by going somewhere fairly quiet, but it doesn’t really work because my head keeps going full speed non-stop. When I experience sensory overload I lose control and I kind of short-circuit and I’ll bang my head really hard for instance because I’ll think I can punch the pain out, or I’ll scream, or maybe shut down completely. And it can take hours before I find myself again. Losing control is my biggest fear. I remember a day at school, I was fidgeting with a pen and the teacher got very angry because he kept hearing my pen. I remember I got so angry because I NEED to have something in my hand to be able to concentrate, holding something in my hand helps me to concentrate, and not be focused on the sounds I heard during the break. Do you ever wish you could just function normally? I don’t know if that’s the right term. You know, I function, but in a different way. I don’t really fit the system. But do you feel people should adjust to you, or the other way around? Well I can’t change myself you know, but the reality is that I have to. I’m being forced to, the thing is, when you’re not average enough they want to stick you out of sight, that’s how people get admitted into residential treatment. You know? I don’t want to be normal. Seems so boring to me. Asperger really is part of me, it makes me the person I am. In the beginning I was really sceptical about why I have this syndrome and why I’m suddenly no longer being treated as a person but as a problem, it’s like all anyone sees is the label. However, even with all the sensory overload I’m dealing with… If someone were to take my diagnosis away I’d absolutely lose a part of myself. Was doing the train tour even a good plan? I can tell someone I’m autistic but that doesn’t mean they really get it, everyone thinks stereotypically. When you talk about autism they picture classical autism, someone uncontrollably flapping his arms when he doesn’t understand something. But I’m telling you that does not exist. No two autistic people are the same. Autism is different for everyone. And this is what it’s like for me. I made this film for anyone who doesn’t understand, hopefully you’ll accept me now, and understand me a little better. A film by Ainslie Gilewski Director/Script/Editing: Ainslie Gilewski
Voice-over: Ainslie GIlewski/Sil van Jaarsveld Camera: Sil van Jaarsveld/Dieks Scholten/Coen de Bie/Siert Groote/Ainslie Gilewski/Suze Voogt Music by KASHIWA Daisuke