The Birthday Party: A film about autism

The birthday Party film

The Birthday Party is a training film for professionals. The film is a partnership project between government, university and clinical partners, including Dr Sarah Carrington from Aston University. It has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and Welsh Government.

What is the film about?

The 18 minute film describes the signs of autism in children. The message of the film is that the same signs can show themselves in different ways. Because of these differences, signs can be often get missed. On the other hand behaviours seen in children with autism can be seen in children without autism too. But when particular behaviours are found together they form a distinctive and enduring pattern of SIGNS.

Two of the children in the film, Jack and Rhys are boys and one, Amy, is a girl. All are quite different and while Amy shows a different profile from both the two boys, this profile is not intended to show a ‘typical’ female profile of ASD; each child is unique, regardless of their gender. No two girls and no two boys will have an identical presentation of the signs.

Read the background on how the film came to be made.

Who is the film for?

The film has been designed to help front-line professionals working in education, health-care, and social services. It is designed as a supplement to a training session. No background knowledge or training is required before viewing the film.

The purpose of the film is to help increase awareness in professionals and especially for flagging up concerns that may be relevant for referral. In a training session the film can be paused to facilitate further discussion with a trainer. The discussion can be about variation in how the signs may present and how the signs form a pattern or cluster to look out for.

Why is the film freely available if it is meant to be used for professional training?

After the film was made, feedback was gathered from several hundred professionals and parents. The majority gave feedback that the film could be useful not only in a training session but also on its own. They also said that the film could be useful to everyone, not just to professionals. In any context the film can raise awareness of the signs and their pattern.

The film

Click here to view the film!


A photo of the cast from the Birthday Party

Hopefully, you will find the film useful. Your feedback is welcomed via this site.

Project team

  • Sue Leekam, Wales Autism Research Centre, School of Psychology, Cardiff University
  • Johanna Manikiza, National ASD Development Team, Welsh Local Government Association
  • Judith Gould, Lorna Wing Centre, Masons Hill, Bromley
  • Sarah Carrington, Psychology, Aston University

Further information

Downloadable posters on the SIGNS and information about referral are available from ASDinfoWales.