Like many women, actress Rachel Fontaine struggled for a long time before, at the age of 40, she received her diagnosis of high-functioning autism of the unseen type (Asperger’s). Translator of the character Maria Lopez in the cult youth series Hell Radio He wanted to do something useful by sharing his experience in a series of video pods broadcast over the Internet.
Directed by Rachel Fontaine’s ex-husband, filmmaker Daniel Roby (Lewis Sir), these seven 1-minute capsules will be posted daily on social networks (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) through Sunday, as part of Quebec’s Autism Month.
The actress reprises the character of Maria Lopez, now a life coach, as she tries to convince the real Rachel Fontaine to “get out” about this diagnosis she’s been keeping a secret. Michel Charette, who also played in the series Hell Radio (aired from 1995 to 2001), shown in one of the capsules.
By working with Daniel Roby on a documentary project on the same topic titled invisiblethat Rachel Fontaine came up with the idea of opening up about her diagnosis of high-functioning autism of the unseen type – formerly known as Asperger’s syndrome.
“I knew that when I asked the experts questions, it was fine. But when it came to talking about my life, I was inhibited,” she says. “I thought it would take Mariah’s courage to help me dive in. So I hid behind her to come up with the concept of the capsules.”
With these capsules (and the documentary that will eventually follow), Rachel Fontaine hopes to help raise awareness of the importance of getting an early autism diagnosis. In her case, she had to wait until she was going through a very difficult period, in her early forties, to decide to take the steps that allowed her to understand the causes of her discomfort.
“At some point, my brain started to stop working, and I really had to find a solution,” she says.
“It was a series of little miracles that saved my life. And one of those little miracles was seeing comedian Louis T. reveal he had Asperger’s Syndrome on the show. Everyone talks about it [en 2016]. After seeing him talk about his experience, I decided to go to a specialist, who finally confirmed my diagnosis. »
When asked why she decided to share her experience today, Rachel Fontaine cited an interview with Brigitte Harrison, an autistic woman who co-founded SACCADE, the Autism Experience Center.
“She once said in an article that if a person with Asperger’s is in pain because he has not been diagnosed, he risks being found in four departments, that is, in prison, in his parents’ basement, in psychiatry or in heaven,” she explains.
“Personally, I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to adapt and have a life like everyone else. But if there are people out there who are in pain, it is worth investigating. Especially women, who are difficult to spot and diagnose properly.”
▶ For more information about invisible autism and to view the capsules, you can visit the website autisminvisible.com.
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