Show // FTW Philly
Director // Jo Shen
“Winner – 2021 Mid-Atlantic EMMY® Award”
“…one of the villains even looked like me.” — Lonnie Smith, father of Kambel and Kantai Smith who both are diagnosed with autism.
In this segment of FTW Philly, we had the opportunity to tell the story of a father’s love for his sons and his struggle to find a way to connect with them. Lonnie openly discussed his initial struggles of comprehending autism and how to help his eldest son, Kambel. He even contemplated electroshock therapy, which was still a suggested treatment by doctors for autism in the early 1980s. Fortunately, he decided there was a better way. He realized his sons don’t have a disability to correct but rather, a superhuman ability to celebrate.
Discovering his son’s love for art, he started writing stories for Kambel. Later, he learned how to code to support the ability of his younger son, Kantai. Through his journey in coding he discovered VR and how it can create a safe place for children with autism to discover their own superhuman ability and become an Autisarian.