Jennifer Belander, London, UK – talks about her one woman educational comedy show, ‘MommAutism – A Love Story.’
Autism Daily Newscast issued a press release about Jennifer’s s one woman show taking place in February and we were interested to find out more about the show and the woman behind it.
Jennifer’s son Robert, 17 was diagnosed with severe autism at 3 years of age.
We asked Jennifer when she started her one woman show MommAutism and why she decided to do so.
She told us that she only ever talked about her son on stage when it was relevant to the show, mainly at charity gigs but then she happened to do a few ‘themed story telling gigs’ and they were so supportive of her and her son.
“They were so lovely and supportive, and curious to know more.”
Jennifer explained that the opportunity to do more with her autism-based material came last year at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival when she stepped in to replace another act.
Jennifer told us:
“The show Double D’s had such a positive reception from the intimate Fringe audiences I was asked a number of times if I would consider doing an hour.”
Jennifer told us that she wasn’t sure that she would have enough material for an hour but then when she finds herself starting to talk about her most favourite subject (Robert) she always finds that she has lots to say.
We were interested to find out if Jennifer had always done stand-up.
“No, my background is in acting, but there is a lot of waiting time in the acting profession. I got tired of being a resting actor. I had resisted stand-up for ages because of the writing element. As an actor there is so much support from the script, the director, the costumes the set but with stand-up it’s all me, and that makes it a little scary.”
“He has been completely non-verbal, although he is really trying now. He has issues mirroring so that makes speaking more difficult for him because he cannot figure out the placement of his tongue, lips or cheeks.”
Jennifer continued to tell us:
“His learning windows open at unpredictable times, so we need to be observant and really work when he is ready. It was the same when he started using Makaton and simple BSL. I never put limits on him, because I can never guess what will capture his interest next.”
Jennifer’s show is based upon her son Robert and she talks about life with him.
“I talk a lot about my life with Robert in MommAutism. Sometimes as parent of an autistic child I don’t realise what are universal ‘boy issues’ and what is particular to autism.”
Jennifer voices that she thinks that more people than we know are interested in autism but are afraid to ask too much because they realise it is a stressful situation and want to try and help by understanding but at the same time not wanting to add stress by asking those questions.
“I’ve done Q&A’s after some performances because people genuinely want to know more and be supportive. I can only offer my opinion, but in doing research for my show, I find there seem to be a lot of common experiences”
Jennifer has 2 Edinburgh Fringe shared previews booked on Feb 27, 28 7pm at the Top Secret Comedy Club on Drury Lane’
She will be previewing alongside Josephine Lacey who also has a son on the autistic spectrum. Her show is ‘My Little Einstein‘, each will be doing a half-hour set.