Disney Plus is full of great movies and shows, but what some seem to forget is the massive library of Pixar shorts on the streaming platform. One short, in particular, hits close to home for me and I had to share it with all our readers. The Pixar short Loop is the story of a 13-year-old nonverbal girl with autism who makes a new friend while canoeing.
Pixar has said that Loop tells the story of a non-verbal, autistic girl and a chatty boy who are partnered on a canoeing trip. To complete their journey across an urban lake, they must both learn how the other experiences the world.
Renee doesn’t speak, so at first, the teen boy is exasperated and at a loss for how to communicate with Renee, but the short shows us that with empathy, quite literally anything is possible. The boy only had to re-frame what he considers “communication” to be able to connect with Renee.
In a behind-the-scenes clip, the director said she was inspired to tell this story because she loves canoeing, but the story began to really take shape when she and the other filmmakers spoke to individuals from the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, who advised them on what Renee would be thinking and feeling.
For the lead role, the filmmakers cast Madison Bandy, a teen girl with autism who is also mostly nonspeaking. In the behind-the-scenes video, we see the filmmakers recording Madison’s part in her own home where she felt more comfortable, as opposed to a recording studio.
So far, the reception to the film and its portrayal of a person with autism has been positive. As a mother who has a son on the spectrum, who also works with a Speech Language Pathologist, this short hits close to home. I wish it would be shown in elementary schools across the country, as a tool to teach empathy and kindness. Thank you, Pixar.
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