WILMINGTON — A Clinton County native hopes his story reaches a wide audience and starts discussions.
Writer Artie Knapp, originally from Wilmington, recently had one of his stories adapted to a video on YouTube, published on the Asher’s Day account. The story is told through photos of the scenes with narration by actress Michele Lepe — Nina from the PBS Sprout series “The Goodnight Show.”
“Getting to Know Ronnie: A Story About Autism” tells of an autistic elementary school-aged child and how his classmates learn about his disorder.
The story was originally published in a newsletter by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in 2009. Knapp was asked to write the story for CCH after previously publishing a kids’ story about stuttering.
“I didn’t know much about autism,” said Knapp, indicating most of what he knew came from movies or TV shows.
Knapp told the News Journal he put a lot of research into it. He wanted the story to be a way for kids to know what some of the characteristics of autism are and to become more understanding.
“The point was to show some of the characteristics of autism,” he said.
He indicated the story isn’t based on anyone specific he knew; he later found out people he knew who had family members who were autistic, including Rylan Freeze, the child who portrays Ronnie, whose brother is autistic.
The idea of adapting the story to a visual style was thought about before the video came out. When Knapp was chatting with Dr. Kenneth Kunz, Board President of the New Jersey Literacy Association, the video idea came up.
“I told (Kunz) I had these professional photos taken for a project and asked if they’d want to present (the story) through the photos,” said Knapp, believing the use of photos can be indicative of certain autistic traits.
He believes that this new format will allow it to be shared more easily with a wider audience. He hopes the video helps kids become more understanding to those who have the condition.
“I hope that there’s a dialogue that parents and teachers can have with their kids and students,” he said.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574