Having been dubbed in over thirty different languages, ‘Amazing Things Happen’ is now in Nepali as well.
The animation was created by London based animator Alex Amelines for his child’s school to teach the young children about autism in a fun way. It took him around two years to finish the project as he had to do a lot of research, talk to the experts and then work on the animation. The 5-minute animated video was released online in April 2017; and it has since then become a globally appreciated work. It has been screened at various film festivals including Canadian Diversity Film Festival, St. Albans Film Festival, Golden Door International Film Festival and AUtism Uncut Film Festival, among others where it has won a number of awards.
The video that uses kid-friendly terminology and fun animation to explain what life looks like to a child with autism explains that “people with autism are not ill or broke, they simply have a unique view of the world.” It encourages children to accept the differences between people.
‘Amazing Things Happen’ has struck a chord with children, parents and teachers across the world, and the video has garnered millions of views on various online platforms like YouTube and Facebook. Kritika Lamsal, who has been involved with people with autism, recently thought of doing a Nepali version of the video. She contacted Alex and then made a team in Nepal to complete the project.
Watch the Nepali version of the video here. Click HERE to watch the video in English.
World Autism Awareness Day is an internationally recognised day on 2 April every year that encourages the Member States of the United Nations to take measures to raise acceptance about people with autism throughout the world.
We talked to Kritika Lamsal to know more about autism. Excerpts.
When did you first come across the video? Why did you feel the need to make a Nepali version of it?
I had seen the video a while back and had even shared it on my social sites. However, the thought of dubbing this video only crossed my mind recently. Autism is a complex disability and can be a bit difficult to understand with medical jargon. It is mostly because autism isn’t a disease, it is a spectrum of neurological disorders, meaning every person in the spectrum is different from the other. In absence of a universal indicator to what makes a person ‘autistic’, and a cause yet unknown, it takes time and patience to understand it. This is when I realized that if only we could explain this in simple terms, understanding autism wouldn’t be as challenging. I thought of mediums to do this and I knew animation would be the best because it is a widely viewed and positively perceived channel. So, like any other person in my generation, I looked things up on YouTube. And that’s when I tumbled into this amazing video once more. Though I first entertained the idea of producing one myself, it looked a bit far-fetched and this video encapsulated most of what I wanted to share. Therefore, I thought it was rational to dub this in Nepali to make it familiar to our Nepali crowd here. Though most of people who have access to YouTube in Nepal are familiar with English, I felt watching something in one’s own language can leave a bigger impact.
How did you have it done?
YouTube and Facebook can be such powerful tools of connection. I used both. I messaged them expressing my interest to narrate it in Nepali and luckily I got a reply within a few hours. Alex from the Amazing Things Happen kindly offered to do post-production if I could give him a clean synchronized audio in Nepali along with narration. So, I looked for options, from recording it on my phone to going to a full-fledged studio, both of which did not work out. Thankfully, two of my friends who I have worked with in projects before helped me with the recording and sound mix.
What are your expectations from the video and how do you want it to be used?
I know how difficult it is to get people to watch something. International media don’t have a dedicated research and development team for no reason. But I think my expectation right now isn’t to get this video to masses (though we need to get there in future) but to get it to people who might need help or want to help. Even if this video leads to one child being diagnosed with a better change at early intervention or even if it would make only a single person more accepting or positive towards autism, I think my expectation would be met. Big changes are possible with a simple change in perception. And I wish this video is used just for that.
Have you worked with/for the people with autism for any organization or on your own? Tell us about it?
Though I am not a full time dedicated autism advocate like my seniors, I have been involved with people with autism. My first internship right out of school was at Autism Care Nepal Society which I feel had a huge impact on the way I grew up. I also did a paper on the psycho-social impact autism has on parents during my final undergraduate year. I try to write opinion pieces as well as blog pieces on autism every now and then. Currently, I am a part of a Siblings Support Group under Autism Care Nepal Society. Though siblings don’t have responsibilities as big as their parents, they too are hugely affected. It can be especially hard for adolescents. Therefore, this support group exists to make siblings feel like they belong and to celebrate their unique bond with their sibling. This, we hope, will eventually enable us to work together in whatever capacity we can for our siblings. That would be it.
What are the most basic things that we need to know about autism?
I would like to mention that it is really nobody’s fault that autism is still unknown in Nepal. But it is necessary to realize that positive awareness and positive engagement is necessary now because autism incidence is steadily increasing. With every 1 in 68 child under 8 diagnosed with autism in USA, global incidence of autism is alarming. Though we don’t know a cause yet, we do have tested ways that can improve life of a person with autism. If we intervene for early diagnosis of a child today, they have a brighter possibility for tomorrow. So, we can help the most by being aware, empathetic and active citizen advocates. It is a disability which ignored will definitely snatch away possibilities from a child who could’ve gone on to lead a better life.