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ASPIE Girls

Debra Robinson

ASPIE Girls explores African American women with Asperger’s Syndrome. It’s a peek into how they manage socially, create habitats, and endeavor as artists.

Details
ASPIE Girls is about becoming familiar with the in the women video on their own terms as well as raising awareness about Asperger’s Syndrome.  

I was introduced to Asperger’s Syndrome 10 years ago through Mame N’Diaye.  She was completing high school through home schooling shortly after her diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome.  I videotaped her for one day to get to know her and gain understanding about AS.  The original taping was the genesis for this project.  It is through her acquaintance that I met the other women who belong to the same Asperger’s Support group in Washington, D.C.  I conducted taped interviews with the women and was able to cultivate a friendship with each of them.  Understanding and respect for their talents and skills was a common desire expressed in the interviews.  None of them wanted the stigma of being a victim of pathology and I agreed.  

The women in ASPIE Girls are artists.  Their work and the living environments they’ve created is the focus of the project.  Mame is a visual artist and musician. Her inspiration is derived from her spiritual experiences and a desire for celebrity that she believes will help her gain acceptance in spite of her disability.  Louise is a poet and autism advocate.  She is in her 50’s and received multiple diagnoses as an adult before arriving at Asperger’s Syndrome.  Louise is a mother and navigating her marriage is a mystery for her.  Jenifer’s interest is in story structure used to create stories based in fantasy worlds reconstructed to apply to other mediums.  She is writing a series of books.  Jenifer has lived at home since graduating from college.  Verna plays piano in her church with two bands (gospel and R&Band).    Audiences will gain a general understanding of Asperger’s Syndrome and understand the women through their art and not as victims of a disability. 

For those who have the experience of being an outsider or other, ASPIE Girls opens up that experience.