Every March is important to us at Fairfield DD as we honor National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. But raising awareness isn't about putting up posters within the walls of our own buildings. It's about reaching out to the community, engaging our neighbors and educating the public.
This year we did just that by hosting four community events in addition to the annual Celebration of Possibilities - an awards event that takes place the last Thursday of every March.
One of the most interesting events this year was the Free Movie Night we held on March 14 at Ohio University Lancaster. We were able to secure the rights to show a fascinating HBO documentary titled How to Dance in Ohio. This film follows a group of central Ohio teens who are on the Autism Spectrum as they prepare for their first formal dance. All of the teens are participants of Amigo Family Counseling's Respons·ability Social Therapy™ (RST), an approach centered on group therapy, in Columbus, Ohio.
Not only did movie-goers have the change to view this incredible film, they were able to meet and interact with Dr. Emilio Amigo himself as he participated in a pre-film discussion. Dr. Amigo's creative approach to working with individuals on the Autism Spectrum focuses heavily on encouraging people to engage relationships - something many on the Spectrum are often hesitant to do.
"I think every person deserves and needs to be a social creature, even when that person is looking me in the face and telling me they don't want to," Dr. Emilio Amigo said. "A theory I have about Autism is that by the time someone is 18 years old, living with Autism, they are thousands, if not millions, of conversational exchanges behind their peers. By the time they are a young adult, they are so behind. Our work is to say 'It's not too late'."
It was enlightening to hear Dr. Amigo address Autism in a unique way and if you were not able to attend the event, we encourage you to take the time to watch How to Dance in Ohio, which is currently playing on HBO.
Our thanks to Dr. Amigo and to Mid Ohio Phsychological Counseling's Dr. Claire Robitaille for conducting the pre-film interview. The amount of expertise in the room was inspiring!