WATCH: Pixar’s “Float” Connects With the Pinoy Autism Community

‘Float’, the first animated Pixar short film to feature Filipino characters, was made available for viewing on YouTube for a limited time. The 7-minute film walks the viewer through the journey of an amazing boy who can levitate and a father crippled by fear of what others may think of his
unique son.

The Pixar SparkShorts short has over 46 million views on YouTube since it was released last February 27. The film’s message resonated strongly with the world, most especially the Filipino autism community.

The Autism Society Philippines (ASP) and Best Buddies Philippines shared the reactions and insights of adults on the autism spectrum and parent advocates after viewing the short film in commemoration of World Autism Awareness Day on 2 April 2021. By listening to the perspectives of those whose lives have been touched by autism, the advocacy groups hope to spur conversations on genuine inclusion within the Filipino family and in Philippine society.

Filipino-American director Bobby Rubio shared his personal message of hope for the Pinoy autism community, “The short was based on my own personal story with my son Alex who is on the autism spectrum, and I was hoping that the story would reach out to families just like mine.”

The film’s message of acceptance in the face of diversity evokes a deep emotional connection with many in the autism community. Andrea Santiago, a single mom to a child on the spectrum from Marikina, advised: ‘What matters most is we keep coming back, full circle, to true unconditional love for our loved one who may be deemed different but will always be our source of joy.”

“It showed us that we are not all the same,” shared Ian Borleo, a young man on the spectrum, “but that doesn’t mean that those who seem different don’t belong.”

A special needs mom and public servant from Davao, Momay Donaire expressed: “It is a good reminder na kahit ano mang kundisyon meron ang aming mga anak, hindi natin sila kailangan baguhin bagkus mas kailangan nila ang ating pag-aaruga, pag-suporta at pagmamahal.” [Rough translation: It is a good reminder that no matter what condition our child has, we don’t need to change them as they need our support and love more.]

Carl Veluz, who is also on the spectrum and one of the leaders of the ASP Self-Advocates Circle affirmed, “Acceptance is the key to a happy life for persons of the autism spectrum and those who love us.”

Olive Medina, whose child Lorenzo is the inspiration behind Lorenzo’s Sanctuary in Laguna professed her belief: “Love and acceptance start at home.”

The reaction video features disability advocates from all over the country — adults on the autism spectrum Kyle Ebora, Randy Motoomull, Brian Pabustan, Matt Somera, Kiel Lagmay, Alan Ng, Vico Cham, Carl Veluz; and parents of children of the autism spectrum, Leah Cendana, Julia Moll, Andrea Santiago, Cyril Borja, Bernadette Tabares, Ai-Ai Abello, Momay Donaire, Olive Medina, Babylin Borja, Caren Tiangco, and Mona Magno-Veluz.

About the author: Mona Magno-Veluz serves as the national president of the Autism Society Philippines. She is a mom to three kids with her eldest Carl on the autism spectrum. Her passion propels her to write and talk publicly about disability inclusion and PWD empowerment.
Find her on Instagram and Twitter @mightymagulang

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