Headshot Photo of Alexandra Jackman
2016 Award Recipient


Project Autism Advocacy

Location Westfield, NJ

Issue Area Disability Justice | Education

While attending summer camp in 2008, Alexandra met Jamie, a young girl with Cerebral Palsy. Alexandra was at first nervous at the thought of speaking to Jamie, but soon worked up the courage, and she and Jamie became friends. The experience opened Alexandra’s eyes to two things: the friendships that can be made between differently-abled individuals, and how difficult it is for some teenagers to take that first step to interact with a peer with special needs. Alexandra spent the next few years working with people with special needs, and in 2012 developed a 14-minute documentary titled, “A Teen’s Guide to Understanding and Communicating with People with Autism.”

This unique, experiential film addresses common misconceptions about autism, while using visual and auditory effects to help viewers experience the challenges faced by those with special needs. In a vivid and accessible way, Alexandra shares the value of neurodiversity and encourages a deeper understanding of the autism diagnosis. Alexandra’s film rapidly gained recognition and is now presented in schools and hospitals as an educational and anti-bullying tool. The film won awards at 10 film festivals, including the World Humanitarian Film Festival and the Queens International Film Festival, and is used by Alexandra as a platform to speak about acceptance throughout the country.

Helping increase acceptance of people with special needs excites and energizes me!

Alexandra Jackman
“It is never too late, too early, or too often TO GIVE BACK AND MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE”
Helen Diller