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A short film following the experiences of two young women’s neurodivergence (Autism and ADHD) and the difficulties they encountered in the education system as they journeyed to understand themselves. This documentary highlights the issues surrounding diagnosis for women and girls in the UK and was created in partnership with the BFI during the BFI documentary residential 2024.

Not So Typical

Ruby: As a kid, I didn't really realise that I thought differently and I felt differently. I just felt like a bit of an outsider at times, and I felt like I didn't fully have control in how I was behaving and how I was feeling as much as other people did.

Eva: I had so many friendship issues in school. Um, primary school and secondary school specifically because I wasn't diagnosed, I ended up calling myself a nomad friend. I would move from group to group. I actually struggled really badly with bullying. That period of my life of just being like, I can't change who I am and you're bullying me for it. I got really upset.

Ruby:  I remember always feeling like I couldn't settle into a group in school. I got bullied quite badly through like year 7 to year 9 and that was all surrounding, like how I was like, and I never really fully understood it. But people were just always like, you're too much like you're too loud. You're too intense. If I didn't do my homework, it was because I was lazy or my attendance was really low because I couldn't be bothered to come into school kind of thing. Whereas there was actually like an issue that was going on that was just completely undetected. I was diagnosed with ADHD at 17 years old. I think when it came to getting my diagnosis, it took quite a long time. There's always waiting lists. I started looking into getting the diagnosis at around 15, and I didn't actually get my formal diagnosis and assessment until I was 17.

Eva: I was diagnosed with autism when I was 16, a month before my 17th birthday. My brother's diagnosis was the spurring point of mine. Girls are diagnosed later than boys, especially with autism and a lot of medical conditions. When they first did the research on the topic, they only did it on white boys. They only use them as their subject, and so their symptoms, in a way, are the ones that they look for.

Ruby:  I actually don't really know how I got through school with it being undetected by teachers, because I think, to be honest, like when I look back, I was quite textbook ADHD. I am someone that can't sit still. I've always been fidgety. There's a lot of issues with concentration. I've just felt very misunderstood at school and feel like when you're not made for the society that we live in, you are isolated within such a massive group of people and it can feel like so detrimental to like your mental health. When I think about it, it makes me feel really sorry for that girl, because at the time I was only like, you know, 14, 15 and when you feel like you don't fit into like society, like society was not built for you, you like, you have no other place to go.

Eva: Primary school. I used to cry in a corner when I was overwhelmed, and it was a corner because no one could come behind me. I was safe, no one could touch me. I was there, but it was a lot of almost loneliness. At secondary school I just hated the noise. It was always really loud and so I liked to sit outside, even if it was raining, because it's not noisy outside.

Ruby: When I actually got my diagnosis. I remember speaking to my mother was being like, it's crazy that that was never suggested to us. I got tested for bipolar, I got tested for all sorts of things, but they never even thought about it.

Eva: I find with a lot of people I've spoken to, they're like, oh, they said I had borderline personality disorder. They said I had bipolar. Um, and they get all these misdiagnoses because everything had been done for men. Why aren't we talking about something that half the population of the world goes through or will go through in their life?

Ruby: I think when it comes to women, there is a lot of issues when it comes to getting diagnosed because women's ADHD can manifest in such a different way. I think because women in general kind of have to put on a facade anyway. We're used to performing. That's constantly what I've been doing my whole life. When I was a child, I was always told I was bossy. So then I think I then internalised that and I was like, I can't be that because people don't like bossy women. So yeah, I definitely tried to be something I wasn't, but then that made it so that I was just struggling inside. Whereas now, like I viewed the world just completely differently after I got my diagnosis.

Eva: My diagnosis did empower me. It kind of gave me a reason, and with a reason I could go about doing the things I wanted to do. It definitely gave me freedom, and I feel like I found empowerment in the freedom.

Ruby: I'm so much healthier with my mind. I'll take up however much space I need.

 

Not So Typical

Video length - 06.03
Published date - Apr 2024
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4
Downloadable resources

Meet Abi – they’re a bit different, in many amazing ways! Abi’s autism can make life challenging sometimes, but it’s also given them some gifts. Smart, curious and open to other cultures, Abi has been on a mission to find the right faith for them and Hinduism speaks to their soul. In the film Abi describes their day to day life, their autism, their love of languages, identifying as non-binary and why Hinduism works for them – excitingly, Abi gets to experience their first public Diwali.

Produced by Morgan Tipping.

Directed, edited and animated by Tommy Chavannes – https://tommychavannes.com/

Autism, Hinduism & Me

Video length - 05.59
Published date - Sep 2022
Keystage(s) - 2, 3 and 4
Downloadable resources

Humanism is a non-religious belief system. Humanists are people who shape their own lives in the here and now, because they believe it’s the only life we have. They make sense of the world through logic, reason, and evidence, and always seek to treat those around them with warmth, understanding, and respect.

And just like with other belief systems, they have important ceremonies too. Watch Ivy experience her naming ceremony, with the key features explained, while her parents discuss the Humanist principles they want to instill in her.

A film by Alastair Collinson.

Humanists UK

A Humanist Naming Ceremony

Video length - 08.12
Published date - Jun 2022
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4

Rise Up 5: Tyler – Tyler’s story concludes the Rise Up short films, showing our four young climate activists being interviewed by Tyler, now a professional journalist reporting in 2025 from a climate summit. In the interviews, they each give advice to their younger selves.

This short film is part of the Rise Up series at the centre of How Will You Reboot the Future? – a campaign by Reboot the Future empowering educators to start new conversations on the climate crisis and support young people to take action.

To download the accompanying teaching guide, as well as the inspiration behind the films, a new novella by Jonathon Porritt, visit www.globaldimension.org.uk/resources/campaign-tyler

Rise Up 5: Tyler

Video length - 05.36
Published date - May 2021
Keystage(s) - 4 and 5

Rise Up 4: Jay – Jay’s story splits into three different timelines as we follow a teenager whose various approaches to speaking up and acting on the climate crisis are each effective in their own way.

This short film is part of the Rise Up series at the centre of How Will You Reboot the Future? – a campaign by Reboot the Future empowering educators to start new conversations on the climate crisis and support young people to take action.

To download the accompanying teaching guide, as well as the inspiration behind the films, a new novella by Jonathon Porritt, visit www.globaldimension.org.uk/resources/campaign-jay

Rise Up 4: Jay

Video length - 05.03
Published date - May 2021
Keystage(s) - 4 and 5

Rise Up 3: Jamal – Jamal’s story, told through the lens of his friend Tyler’s handheld camcorder, features a school student in inner-city London with a love of growing and cooking his own food, and a dream of becoming a chef.

This short film is part of the Rise Up series at the centre of How Will You Reboot the Future? – a campaign by Reboot the Future empowering educators to start new conversations on the climate crisis and support young people to take action.

To download the accompanying teaching guide, as well as the inspiration behind the films, a new novella by Jonathon Porritt, visit www.globaldimension.org.uk/resources/campaign-ja

Rise Up 3: Jamal

Video length - 07.08
Published date - May 2021
Keystage(s) - 4 and 5

Rise Up 2: Erin – Erin’s story, featuring sweeping footage of the Norfolk coastline, follows a teenager passionately protesting about the climate crisis as she watches her grandfather’s home crumble into the sea.

This short film is part of the Rise Up series at the centre of How Will You Reboot the Future? – a campaign by Reboot the Future empowering educators to start new conversations on the climate crisis and support young people to take action.

To download the accompanying teaching guide, as well as the inspiration behind the films, a new novella by Jonathon Porritt, visit www.globaldimension.org.uk/resources/campaign-erin

Rise Up 2: Erin

Video length - 08.31
Published date - May 2021
Keystage(s) - 4 and 5

Rise Up 1: Lahari – Lahari’s story, told through a series of TikTok-style videos, features a prospective law student in Mumbai, who uses her platform to influence the law on air pollution.

This short film is part of the Rise Up series at the centre of How Will You Reboot the Future? – a campaign by Reboot the Future empowering educators to start new conversations on the climate crisis and support young people to take action.

To download the accompanying teaching guide, as well as the inspiration behind the films, a new novella by Jonathon Porritt, visit www.globaldimension.org.uk/resources/campaign-lahari

Rise Up 1: Lahari

Video length - 05.58
Published date - May 2021
Keystage(s) - 4 and 5

Doreen’s War: Keep Smiling Through – Doreen was only 8 years old when World War 2 began. While many children were evacuated from London’s east end, Doreen stayed with her family in Plaistow and was homeschooled – even during the deadly Blitz between 1940 and 1941. Her best friend Marjorie had been evacuated to a different part of the country, but their relationship stayed strong and they’re still friends 75 years later.

Just before VE Day in 2020, this interview with Doreen recounting her memories of WW2 was recorded during lockdown conditions due to the coronavirus. Doreen compares how the nation felt then to how it feels during the pandemic.

This film includes an accompanying worksheet that can be used by pupils.

Doreen’s War: Keep Smiling Through

Video length - 04.32
Published date - May 2020
Keystage(s) - 2 and 3
Downloadable resources

Lilie – My Future. My Career. My RE. Lilie is a chef and recipe designer who says that the skills she learned in RE gave her the confidence to question, to weigh up different options and to decide what she wanted to do with her life.

Studying RE doesn’t mean you have to be a priest! It offers you experiences and skills that can be applied to many different jobs, and life in general.

Studying RE at GCSE and A Level provides you with important life skills, and offers opportunities in further education and a wide variety of careers. Watch the other MY FUTURE. MY CAREER. MY RE. films to hear more real stories about how Religious Studies benefits students and young professionals.

Lilie – My Future. My Career. My RE.

Video length - 01.15
Published date - Nov 2018
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4
Downloadable resources