Autism awareness campaigner seeks to make film
By Robert Brown
Twin Brothers Worlds Apart was first published in 2009
Kevin Healey, a 35 year old from Stoke-on-Trent who has Asperger syndrome, wants to make a film of his life.
Mr Healey has already written a book about his life with his identical twin brother Shaun, who has autism.
He’s now looking for a film director to turn his autobiography, Two Brothers Worlds Apart, into a feature film.
He spoke to Robert Brown about his life, his campaigning to raise awareness of autism and his hopes for the film.
Two Brothers Worlds Apart
Tell us about Shaun…
My twin can’t communicate. He is locked in a world of his own and can’t even tell you if he feels ill, or if he is in pain. On one occasion he nearly died of double pneumonia, because the health bodies thought and assumed he was healthy.
There have been other instances where people have not accepted him because of his condition, but this might be because they don’t understand him.
What is life like with Shaun?
Even though I love my twin so dearly, I have never been able to communicate with him because he does not understand, and for a twin that is incredibly hard. Most twins grow up playing together and enjoy the social aspects of life, such as going out, and we have not been able to do this.
…and then you found out that you also had a similar condition – that of Asperger syndrome…
I didn’t get diagnosed until my late 20s; and if it hadn’t been for Professor Baron-Cohen and his team at the Autism Research Centre, Cambridge, then I wouldn’t be writing this today. People’s attitudes have moved forward slightly in the autism field.
And you started campaigning…
I feel there needs to be more awareness and understanding of the condition and I’ve worked hard on that.
You even got a Citizen of The Year award…?
Yes, but more needs to be done, and hopefully this can be achieved with a new film.
As a person with autism, I feel that it has never been portrayed correctly. Most autism films show adults on the high functioning end of the spectrum or those with genius-savant abilities, like Dustin Hoffman in the film The Rain Man.
However, I still have to obtain funding for the film and to find actors to play the roles. However, all the proceeds from the film that would be due to me would go to Staffordshire Adults Autistic Society which I’m involved with.
Kevin Healey’s book, Twin Brothers Worlds Apart, was published in 2009, with proceeds being split between Staffordshire Adults Autistic Society (SAAS) and the Autism Research Centre in Cambridge.
SAAS aims to provide support to people with autism and Asperger Syndrome in Staffordshire. It arranges activities and outings for adults with the conditions.
Any film director interested should contact the charity on 01782 617088 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .