A Parallel Universe: A Journey Through Autism


A quest for answers, A Parallel Universe: A Journey Through Autism investigates the mysteries of the Autism Spectrum and includes interviews with experts and researchers, explores educational techniques, and highlights the personal experiences of families living with Autism.

Sparked by the filmmaker’s personal experience, the path to making this film was led by her own challenges, lessons learned, and many questions as a teacher working with  children on the Spectrum. When what began as ‘just wanting to do some research to better understand her students” evolved into a film project, Jennifer Davis-Lewis quickly found that everyone she contacted with questions and interview requests had a compelling story to tell.

These stories shaped A Parallel Universe. The heart of this film is the families and their struggles for acceptance. They have had to learn – some still learning – how to live with their child’s Autism. Though each family has different beliefs of what caused their child’s Autism, all want to make the world a better place not just for their child, but for all children.

A Parallel Universe is available for VOD through Amazon.com and also on DVD at Amazon.com


Excellence in Filmmaking Award 2010
Aloha_Accolade_Laurel 2


The Voice Awards honor writers and producers who incorporate dignified, respectful and accurate portrayals of individuals with mental health problems into film and television productions.


  • Thomas Burbacher, PhD
    Thomas Burbacher, PhDProf. University of Washington
  • Stanley Greenspan, MD
    Stanley Greenspan, MDFormer director of NIMH
  • Deirdre Jarman
    Deirdre JarmanParent and Co-Founder of The Vista School
  • Mike Jarman
    Mike JarmanParent and Co-Founder of The Vista School
  • David Kirby
    David KirbyAuthor, reporter
  • Gary Mesibov, PhD
    Gary Mesibov, PhDFormer Director of the TEACCH Institute
  • Mark Mintz, MD
    Mark Mintz, MDProf Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
  • Rev Lisa Sykes
    Rev Lisa SykesMinister and Parent Advocate Co-Founder of CoMeD
  • Mike Jarman
    Mike JarmanParent and Co-Founder of The Vista School
  • David Kirby
    David KirbyAuthor, reporter
  • Gary Mesibov, PhD
    Gary Mesibov, PhDFormer Director of the TEACCH Institute
  • Mark Mintz, MD
    Mark Mintz, MDProf Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
  • Rev Lisa Sykes
    Rev Lisa SykesMinister and Parent Advocate Co-Founder of CoMeD



“As an educator, this movie was a good overview of Autism Spectrum Disorders and some background information. It was amazing to watch in the beginning of the video all the statistics about autism and how the numbers of people diagnosed with autism changed so dramatically in such a short amount of time. The movie brought up a good point about why are there so many more cases of autism now. It stated that there are more expectations now in school and society, especially socially and in all aspects of language, which is a cause for an increase in numbers. Doctors, teachers and professionals are now also more aware of the characteristics of autism, so they know what to look for when diagnosing and making referrals. It was interesting to think about people from the past that as of today would fit the requirements for ASD according to the DSM.

The movie brought up a great point for parents and families that are new to the word of autism; check out and verify all therapies before you try them. It is beneficial to see which ones are backed and verified by the FDA because anyone can sell anything to anyone online at the present time. It is important to verify the strategies, creator, interventions, etc. before committing to any one type of intervention. It also brought up some great points about the strain of autism on the family, siblings, marriage, finances, etc. But it was also quick to point out that we can learn a lot from these children and adults with autism.

More research should be done as to which type of intervention works best for which characteristics of autism. It is also wonderful to think that there are schools out there that are searching for people that are truly passionate about autism to fill their teacher roles. The Vista School is something I have never heard of before and would be a good resource for parents in the Hersey, PA area to look into for their child with autism.

Overall this movie was an overview of some terms, possible causes for, and examples of children and adults with autism.”


-Shane Granberg, Educator

A Parallel Universe: A Journey Through Autism provides viewers with an excellent opportunity to meet children affected by autism and the parents, educators, and researchers who are committed to advocacy, instruction, and investigation. The diverse nature of the disorder in terms of its manifestation, perspectives on etiology, and current trends in treatment are highlighted, providing first-rate access to current, relevant, and meaningful information. Whatever your final conclusions may be regarding oft-debated positions regarding the origins of characteristics associated with autism and best practices for intervention, this film undeniably illuminates a call to action for assertive and persistent research into evidence-based treatments and ultimately, dignified care for our children.

~ Barbara A. Gueldner, PhD, NCSP


The following are donor and volunteer opportunities.

Autism One

Autism One is a nonprofit organization 501(c)(3) started by a small group of parents of children with autism to address three areas: education, advocacy, and fundraising. Parents are and must remain the driving force of our community, the stakes are too high and the issues too sacred to delegate to outside interests.

The mission of the Floortime Foundation is to redefine the potential of children with developmental and communication challenges through broad dissemination of the DIR/Floortime model. Our goals are to:

•Increase awareness of the DIR/Floortime approach for understanding and treating children with developmental and communication challenges.

•Provide DIR/Floortime information, guidance and resources to parents and professionals.

•Provide education and training for clinicians, educators, child-care providers and parents in the DIR/Floortime model.

•Create local and national forums for families and professionals to exchange information and expertise about the DIR/Floortime

The Kennedy Krieger Institute
Kennedy Krieger Institute is an internationally recognized facility located in Baltimore, Maryland dedicated to improving the lives of children and adolescents with pediatric developmental disabilities through patient care, special education, research, and professional training.

Kennedy Krieger’s clinical programs offer an interdisciplinary approach in treatment tailored to the individual needs of each child. Services include over 40 outpatient clinics; neurobehavioral, rehabilitation, and pediatric feeding disorders inpatient units; plus several home and community programs providing services to assist families.

Kennedy Krieger school, is a nationally recognized “Blue Ribbon School of Excellence”, and is a leader in providing model programs of innovative education for children, adolescents and young adults with a wide range of learning, emotional, physical, neurological, and developmental disabilities.

Faculty at Kennedy Krieger are among some of the world’s leading experts in this field and are attuned to the special needs of this population. These faculty have made crucial medical discoveries leading to innovative treatments and have improved the lives of individuals with disabilities.

In addition to providing evaluation, rehabilitation, educational services and cutting edge research on behalf of children with brain related disabilities, Kennedy Krieger also provides professional training by renowned experts dedicated to increasing the number of qualified specialists in the United States and abroad.

The Lovaas Institute
The Lovaas Institute provides behavioral treatment utilizing the principles of applied behavior analysis. The Lovaas Model of Applied Behavior Analysis has undergone rigorous research at UCLA under the direction of Dr. Lovaas, proving its effectiveness in treating children with autism.

M.I.N.D. Institute
The M.I.N.D. Institute is an international, multidisciplinary research organization, committed to excellence, collaboration and hope, striving to understand the causes and develop better treatments and ultimately cures for neurodevelopmental disorders. Standing shoulder to shoulder, families, scientists, physicians, educators, and administrators are working together to unlock the mysteries of the mind.

National Institute of Mental Health
Government website for autism, incluceing locating services, treatment options, signs and symptons. Lots of great information for parents, doctors and teachers.

TEACCH is an evidence-based service, training, and research program for individuals of all ages and skill levels with autism spectrum disorders. Established in the early 1970s by Eric Schopler and colleagues, the TEACCH program has worked with thousands of individuals with autism spectrum disorders and their families. TEACCH provides clinical services such as diagnostic evaluations, parent training and parent support groups, social play and recreation groups, individual counseling for higher-functioning clients, and supported employment. In addition, TEACCH conducts training nationally and internationally and provides consultation for teachers, residential care providers, and other professionals from a variety of disciplines. Research activities include psychological, educational, and biomedical studies.

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