Demonstrating the power of inclusion to transcend disability, Director Lara Stolman's triumphant film profiles members of the Jersey Hammerheads, a competitive swim team made up of a diverse group of teens on the autism spectrum, based in the state with the highest rate of autism in the USA. Through training and competition, star athletes Mikey, Robbie and Kelvin gain self-confidence and social skills that serve them both in and out of the pool.
Watch the trailer
"Eye-opening, thoughtful, inspiring..."
- Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter
"...an exceptional documentary on what it means to come together for a common goal under extraordinary circumstances."
- Anne-Katrin Titze, Eye For Film
"Swim Team is a probing, honest, and uplifting look at the challenges that young autistic people and their families face as they "age out" of services after high school. It's also a beautifully filmed and sensitively paced portrait of a group of autistic people of color who give their all to take their team to the state finals for a chance to swim at the Special Olympics. You will not soon forget these wonderful young swimmers, or the struggles of their parents as they refuse to allow their kids' potential to be limited by society's low expectations for their future."
- Steve Silberman, Author "NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity"
Chloe Hayden, "Princess Aspien", is a nineteen year old girl from country Victoria, diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome at the age of 13.
After struggling through her childhood and early teenage years by not feeling included in society, feeling outcast and unable to connect to anyone, she suffered intense bullying through school, which ended up with her spending some time in hospital.
As an eighteen year old, Chloe came to the realisation that she wasn’t the only child who has felt like this, and that there was thousands of other children out there who had gone through the same things she was, simply because there was no one who understood.
And that’s how Princess Aspien was born.
Chloe took charge of the situation, and now spends her life advocating for children on the spectrum through interactive, fun videos and blog posts, which tackle the harder pressed details of living with Autism, while keeping it fun, encouraging and entertaining for a younger audience, and educational for their parents.
An ambassador for Yellow Ladybugs, Aspergers Victoria and Treehouse Geelong, she dedicates her life to being a role model, advocate and encourager to children and adults alike on the Autism spectrum, and helping their families to see through and get a greater understanding.”
Rachael Parker is the founder of Ocean Mind and a Youth Worker with over 10 years’ experience working with children and young people experiencing complex issues affecting their lives. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Youth Work), Certificate IV in Alcohol and other Drugs, Mental Health First Aid and Surf Coaching.
Rachael is passionate about using the outdoor environments to create positive experiences and opportunities for young people to grow and prosper. Since discovering surfing in 2015, she’s combined her passion for the ocean and working with young people to create Ocean Mind. She loves nothing more than sharing her love of the ocean with young people and teaching them to find the stoke in the surf
Carlie Hageman is a qualified social worker specialising in art therapy who has supported many schools and families including those with young people with ADHD, Autism and Aspergers. She is not currently practicing as she focuses on being a mama to two beautiful boys, managing her rogue vegetable garden and chasing after 2 dogs and 5 chooks. She also travels the country speaking and sharing her knowledge and experiences of Mother Natures gifts - Essential Oils.
Her time as a social worker was so rewarding but she soon became disillusioned with the systems she was forced to work within and was increasingly frustrated by the way these families were being supported and the modalities (or lack there of) that they could access through traditional funding methods. She wanted to share more alternative ways to improve health.
Carlie decided not to return to social work after having her first child and her passion for helping others has now shifted to sharing the profound benefits of essential oils for everyone but in particular families dealing with ASD. She loves watching people respond to and feel empowered by these essential oils and supporting anyone who is looking for another a natural and affordable tool for their kit to support their young people with their emotions, vocabulary, sleep, social connections, digestion etc.
About the event
Through thought-provoking events that inspire action, and using the power of film to illuminate the issues of our time, Suburban Sandcastles is a movement for people seeking to live with their minds opened by wonder, not closed by belief. Join us at The Potato Shed in Drysdale, between Geelong and Ocean Grove, for a nourishing meal, fresh juice, wholefood snacks, beer and wine, all available for purchase before the film. Connect with our community and explore what's on offer from our wellness and lifestyle exhibitors. There's also great prizes in our raffle thanks to our exhibitors and generous local businesses.
6pm doors open, nourishing food and drink available, local exhibitors
7pm film commences
8.30pm Q&A panel followed by prize raffle
9.00pm event concludes