Your Support Helps Students and Adults like Theo

Meet FilmAcademy360 student Theo S., and learn about his inspirational journey from solitary child to confident young man


Growing up, Theo’s love of creating stories and making videos on his phone were hobbies that occupied his free time. In watching Thomas the Tank Engine and other cartoons he enjoyed, Theo absorbed details about plots, themes and characters which he put to use in acting in the films he was making. 


A solitary child, he struggled with self-confidence, social skills and interactions with his peers. His hobby was something that kept him company as he had difficulty connecting with his neurotypical classmates who had different interests. 


An opportunity for change


Theo’s enjoyment in makng movies encouraged his family to seek outlets for his creativity. They also hoped to find an environment where Theo could work alongside people his own age with similar interests and potentially form connections with others. Finally, for him to succeed, they also knew he needed a structured situation that would allow him to focus on his interests. 


Theo’s family found what they were looking for in Spectrum360’s FilmAcademy360. The program’s array of study subjects, hands-on instruction and social interaction provided the spark Theo needed to come out of his shell. 


Making a difference

Theo has now been enrolled in Spectrum360’s film academy for two years. In the program he’s had the opportunity to learn how to operate a wide range of equipment and editing software used in film production. He’s had hands-on experience in creating content using the program’s high-quality digital cameras, green screens, drones and lighting equipment. He is also practicing script writing, camera angles, on-camera acting, voice acting and more.

In the time since his enrollment, Theo has made great personal strides and the changes his family have observed are tremendous. With the confidence he's gained, he now texts friends, starts conversations and enjoys hanging out with his peers at school. He comes home from FA360 with tales of friends and the things he’s done during the day. His speech has significantly improved and his communication skills have expanded from simple statements to full conversations with family members, teachers, friends and strangers. As his skills have grown, he's become a self-advocate for himself with others.

The future

Since enrolling at FilmAcademy360, Theo has earned college credits at a local community college and joined the TV Media Program at his school. Thanks to what he has learned at FA360, he has had the opportunity to shine at school. Where he was once a loner, his neurotypical classmates are impressed by his work and Theo has found acceptance and respect from his peers. Given the opportunity to spread his wings in a supportive environment, the experience at FilmAcademy360 has been monumental for Theo’s self-esteem.

With your help, Spectrum360 can continue to make a meaningful impact on the lives of individuals and families affected by autism by providing essential services, resources, and a sense of community.

A Message From Theo's Mom

“Theo is now 17 years old. I do not know what the future holds but being at FA360, I know he will continue to grow. He loves being a part of a team and understands how important it is that he works and engages with others. He completed his first work assignment using digital filming equipment this week which gave him work experience in a field he loves. Where else would he get this opportunity? He loved the assignment and talked about it the entire 30-minute drive home.

I am so proud of him. We discuss now what is expected of him as a growing adult. I know he wants to be successful in life and have a career in the film industry if he can. FA360 is giving him experience, opportunities, and skills which I have no doubt will help him be a thriving adult.

I never dreamt Theo would change so much by going to a film school. As parents of autistic children, whose lives are full of changes and setbacks, we are always looking for that success in something, just one thing. It is like finding gold at the end of a rainbow. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it feels like winning the lottery.

FA360 is the only place I have found where Theo, as an autistic person, has the opportunity to access and learn how to use and create with this equipment that typically would not be readily available to him. It is amazing.”

- Nikki, Theo’s Mom

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