A student with autism has revealed how creating an animated short film at college to promote race and gender equality helped him to cope with the condition. Jack Reddington, 23, was among the students making films on equality while studying for a Diploma in Games Design and Animation at CONEL.
The completion of the film coincided with World Autism Awareness Week, a campaign by the National Autistic Society to raise awareness of the condition that affects 700,000 people in the UK. Autism is a lifelong disability that affects how people communicate and interact with the world.
Jack scripted, produced and edited the film, which features simple animated figures of people from different backgrounds to explain racial, religious and gender equality. He lives in Enfield and was diagnosed with autism when he was two.
Jack said: “Sometimes I get distracted and find it hard to concentrate. Creating animations has really helped me to focus more and keep my attention.
“I like being creative, coming up with ideas and solving problems with others, and I was very proud of the positive reaction of my teachers and classmates to the film. My teachers have been great, and I have learnt a lot from them. They have given me lots of tips and advice. If I struggle with a bit of work, they help me to get it done.”
Jack’s mum Bernie, 56, said: “Jack finds it socially hard and tends to keep himself to himself although we have encouraged him to make friends. The staff at CONEL have been fantastic from day one. They have been very patient with him. Nothing has been too much trouble.”
Jack started at CONEL on a Level 1 course in September 2016 and is expected to complete the Level 3 Extended Diploma, the equivalent of three A Levels, this summer. During his time at CONEL, Jack has produced many other creative 3D animations during his studies including a sword that turns into a utility tool and then a pogo stick.
He has also attended RGX Rezzed, London’s leading gaming event at Tobacco Dock in Wapping, and taken part in e-sports tournaments with other students on his course.
Tamara Lesniewska, Lecturer in Creative Digital Media, said: “When Jack started at the college four years ago, we were not sure how he would cope with a diverse group of students – school leavers and adults – let alone the demands of the curriculum projects. Now he is in his final year and contemplating whether to do a higher education course or venture into the world of work.
“Jack is a skilled animator with a fantastic imagination. He enjoys drawing and seeing his work come to life using graphics tablets and professional software. He has a quirky, fun personality and is always happy to share his ideas and give a helpful hand to his peers. With the right support and guidance, we believe the creative possibilities for Jack are endless.”