You may have seen the stage play, CELESTIAL BEING by Dave Deveau, or received the CELESTIAL BEING colouring book with illustrations by Cecil Ward.
We’ve compiled some resources for families and educators to provide more information about autism, support conversations around autism acceptance, and highlight autistic voices.
Do you have feedback or a resource you think we should share? Please email email@example.com let us know!
About CELESTIAL BEING by Dave Deveau
Celeste is an autistic* 9-year-old with a big imagination and a deep love for outer space. After experiencing bullying at school, Celeste is made to feel like she’ll never fit in on Earth. Searching for a place where she can belong, Celeste starts building a rocket ship out of objects from around her house so that she can blast off to “Celestia”, a planet where everyone sees the world the way she does. When Celeste meets Martin, a new boy at school who loves space just as much as she does, her adventure takes a new turn. CELESTIAL BEING explores the different pathways to friendship, and the importance of welcoming a wide range of human experiences.
About the Illustrator: Cecil Ward
From their little place on Vancouver Island, Cecil Ward likes to draw whatever has captured their fancy in the moment, regardless of what housework has yet to be completed. They primarily work in digital illustration and character design, having a particular fondness for stories and folklore. They’re quite happy to be working on this particular story, being autistic themselves, and having spent many a school recess pretending to go on space adventures of their own. They also have two cats, which are the light of their life.
About the Author: Dave Deveau
An award-winning writer, Dave Deveau's work has been produced across North America and in Europe. He is deeply devoted to developing intelligent, theatrical plays for young people that foster conversation. His plays for young audiences include Out in the Open, tagged (Dora nomination) and Celestial Being (Jessie Nomination) for Green Thumb Theatre, Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls (Dora nomination) for Roseneath Theatre and the drag-theatre hybrid Parents Are A Drag (commissioned by Vancouver International Children’s Festival). He lives in Vancouver with his husband Cameron Mackenzie and their three-year-old.
AutismBC has helped to compile some information about autism as it relates to the themes in the CELESTIAL BEING colouring book:
Many of you have a family member, friend, classmate, or neighbour who is autistic, or you may be on the autism spectrum yourself:
“If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.” - Dr Stephen Shore
Autism is a lifelong spectrum disorder. People on the autism spectrum are born with some differences from people not on the autism spectrum in how they show their feelings and talk with others. People on the autism spectrum may see the world differently than people who are not on the autism spectrum. Those differences are a part of who they are. Spectrum means there is a wide range of different experiences, and no two autistic people have the exact same experiences.
Many kids on the autism spectrum have times where there’s too much going on, and loud noises or big crowds of people can make them feel upset and overwhelmed. To help themselves calm down and feel better, they might start doing what’s called “stimming”, which is usually a repetitive movement or action. In the play CELESTIAL BEING, the character Celeste often lists the planets out loud to feel calm. Other examples of stimming might include rocking back and forth, flapping hands or repeating sounds.
Some kids on the autism spectrum might create a fantasy world, where they can just be themselves. In this story, Celeste doesn’t feel like she fits in with the other kids at school. So, she creates her own home planet; Celestia in her backyard, where she does feel like she fits in.
AutismBC also offers videos and articles that families and educators can utilize to hear from individuals on the autism spectrum about their experiences
Additional resources for young people, families, and educators:
Autism Self-Advocacy Sites:
A note on language:
*Green Thumb Theatre recognizes that there is debate within autism advocacy circles regarding the use of “autistic individual” vs.“individual with autism”, and different people identify in different ways. In this matter we have deferred to autistic advocates such as Lydia Brown who articulates a preference for “autistic individual” in recognition that autism is an integral part of their identity, not something about them that needs to be changed (https://autisticadvocacy.org/about-asan/identity-first-language/). Jake Anthony, Program Ambassador of AutismBC, speaks about the individuality of language preference in his blog post regarding inclusive terminology.
We realize this is a deeply personal issue for autistic individuals and their families and welcome feedback from anyone who is moved to share through the email firstname.lastname@example.org