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Abandoned by his birth parents and presumed incompetent, DJ Savarese (“Deej”) found not only a loving family but also a life in words, which he types on a text-to-voice synthesizer. As he makes his way through high school and dreams of college, he confronts the terrors of his past, society's obstacles to inclusion, and the sometimes paralyzing beauty of his own senses. In his advocacy on behalf of other nonspeaking autistics, he embraces filmmaking and poetry, and discovers what having a voice can truly mean.
In this first-of-its-kind collaboration between a veteran filmmaker and a nonspeaking autistic, Robert Rooy and DJ Savarese share editorial control as they attempt to navigate the challenges of representing autism. Deej, the result of this often difficult partnership, is a story told largely from the inside, by DJ – not by his parents or autism experts or even the camera. At its core, Deej reflects the sort of participation that disability rights advocates insist upon: “Nothing about us without us.”
In keeping with this philosophy, all of DJ’s words on this website are attributed specifically to him. Any other text is the creation of Rooy Media LLC.