Abandoned by his birth parents and unable to speak for himself, DJ Savarese (“Deej”) found not only a loving family but also a life in words, which he types on a tect-to-voice synthesizer. As he makes his way through high school and dreams of college, he confronts the terrors of his past, obstacles to inclusion, and the sometimes paralyzing beauty of his own senses. In his advocacy on behalf of other nonspeaking autistics, he embraces filmmaking and poetry, and discovers what having a voice can truly mean.
In this first-of-its kind collaboration between a veteran filmmaker and a nonspeaking autistic, Robert Rooy and DJ share editorial control as they navigate the challenges of representing autism. Deej, the result of this often difficult partnership, is a story told largely from the inside, by DJ — not by his parents or autism experts or even the camera. At its core, Deej reflects the level of participation that disability rights advocates insist upon: “Nothing about us without us.”
Presented by the Syracuse University School of Education, Cultural Foundations of Education, Disability Cultural Center, Institute on Communication and Inclusion, Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education, Center on Human Policy, and the Douglas Biklen Landscape of Urban Education Lecture Series.
Film is closed-captioned; American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation and Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) will be available for the discussion. Parking available in the Booth Garage on Comstock Ave. Additional accessible parking in the Q5 lot on University Place. If you have requests for accessibility and accommodations, please contact Dani Weinstein at 315.443.9379 or firstname.lastname@example.org.