• Emer Ní Fhoghlú

Mildly Different: This film looks to tell the under-represented story of women with Autism

Updated: Aug 7, 2020

Women with the condition are often treated as personally flawed rather than experiencing symptoms outside their control.

Autism in women can often be misdiagnosed, or even overlooked. Although those with the condition may present as socially neurotypical, this is often through huge effort on their part in learning ‘do’s and ‘don’t’s.

Although the ability to disguise the condition leads to them being considered high-functioning, it leaves their experiences and struggles under-represented in the media and misunderstood by the public.

Sexism feeds into pre-conceived notions held by neurotypicals.

Labels like ‘anti-social’ and ‘difficult’ only perpetuate stigma and further dissuade those with the condition from pursuing a diagnosis.

Women with the condition are often treated as personally flawed rather than experiencing symptoms outside their control. This leads women to continue hiding their struggles.

Dublin-based Sticky Tape Productions aim to crowdfund their film, Mildly Different, to tackle these misconceptions and dated ideas.

The film will follow a young woman as she grapples with a misdiagnosis and sets out to

understand herself. With special effects, it will depict synaesthesia, a blurring of senses

autists can experience. It is an art that strives for acceptance and understanding of difference.

Mildly Different aims to promote awareness of autism in women. It will depict what that looks and feels like for the character Christina, as symptoms in women can differ from men with the same condition.

The writer and director, Anna Czarska is herself autistic and found most information on autism outdated and male-focused.

“As an autistic woman who lived most of my life without knowing why I was so different, I

wanted to bring a voice to other women who experienced the same," she told EMPWR.

"While autism as a whole is misunderstood by many, autism in women has been entirely


"I want to show the world what autism in women looks and feels like, to not only

bring more awareness to the condition in women but also to give neurodiverse women a way to express their experience to neurotypicals," Anna explained.

In 2019, her production company created an extensive survey, compiling information and

statements from those with autism.

They found a lack of support networks, meaning autists can feel entirely isolated. In particular, those diagnosed as adults struggle to find support beyond receiving a diagnosis.

“I believe this film will create an outlet for those who have trouble expressing how they


Mildly Different was a finalist in the 13th Annual Waterford Film Festival and among the top 30 in Bumble’s Female Film Force Competition.

© 2020 by EMPWR

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