Now Playing: ‘Mind Over Matter,’ our music video about Asperger’s Syndrome

On Friday night our parents’ group celebrated a special milestone – the premiere of a new song and music video created to shine a light on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and tell a slice of our story as parents and families.

The project began as part of the new Atlantic Minds Wide Open film festival, an incredible undertaking that brought together filmmakers, mental health professionals and the community to explore the role that film and filmmakers can play in wellbeing.

Although ASD is not a mental illness, it’s common for kids and adults on the spectrum to experience mental health challenges due to their difficulties with social interaction and communication. The festival was a ready-made opportunity to spread the word – too good for us to pass up.

The video was a big step for our group and the families involved. It’s one thing to share our hopes, dreams, and challenges in our meetings; it’s quite another to stand up in front of our community and do the same.

But this project was clearly meant to be. Every step of the way, doors opened, connections were made, and things just got done.

The first ‘good sign’ was meeting Amy Spurway during a brainstorm session organized by the film festival. Then the idea of doing a music video just ‘came to her’ as she was heading out for our follow-up meeting over coffee. That night, the song ‘Mind Over Matter’ came to her too, as whole and perfect as an egg. I’ve included the lyrics below. I told Amy last night that I often find myself humming the song, sometimes during tough moments, and I find it very comforting. What a gift she has given us.

Then came the good graces of Kimberlee McTaggart – a Gemini-award winning editor and long-time fixture in Nova Scotia’s filmmaking community – and a woman I am fortunate to count among my closest friends. Even though she was in the middle of editing the third season of Call Me Fitz, Kim gave her very precious weekends to editing ‘Mind Over Matter.’ She also called in some favours from two very talented filmmakers: John Hillis and Caley MacLennan, who made our kids feel like movie stars with their attention, praise, and patience.

I also have to single out Dr. Andrew Starzomski, a psychologist at the East Coast Forensic Hospital, who organized the festival. Andrew supported our project from the very beginning, and gave more of his time to arrange, play, and record Amy’s song. One of my favourite shots in the video comes toward the end when Andrew is recording our kids singing; he looks up at the camera with a stunning smile, full of joy. His passion for helping others find their own joy is part of what made this whole process so meaningful.

On Friday night every parent marvelled at the beauty of the video, which captured the essence of our kids with warmth, humour and dignity. We also talked about our kids, who struggle with transitions, waiting, and following instructions, yet who were absolutely in their element on shooting day.

The project brought so many benefits the video itself is almost gravy! Making the signs for the video with our families was a great process. And getting together as a group is always good – I never fail to feel simultaneously lighter and more grounded after our gatherings.

But it was connecting with Andrew, Amy, Kim, John, and Caley, and all the folks who saw our video on Friday that made this matter to me. It’s all about telling our story and making the circle bigger for our kids. Stay tuned: a sequel is sure to follow!

Mind Over Matter by Amy Spurway

Imagine waking up each day with a feeling
no matter what you say or do you don’t belong
The bright light burns,
you can’t take turns,
they don’t get the way you learn
What you though would make you special, makes you wrong.

So it’s mind
Over matter
That’s what it takes for you
to face the world each day
It’s all mind
over matter
Why can’t they see your difference
in a better way.

Imagine waking up each day with a mission
to help your baby find some ground upon this earth
but folks don’t bend
don’t understand
they try to make them just pretend
Not seeing who they are, or what they’re worth.

So it’s mind
Over matter
That’s what it takes for you
to fight that fight each day
It’s all mind
over matter
Why can’t they see your strength
in another way

Imagine knowing that you could make a difference
you could help somebody spread their wings and fly
Give a little grace
and a little space
know a heart’s not lost or out of place
Just because someone can’t look you in the eye.

And it’s mind
Over matter
That’s all it takes for you
to change the world today
It’s just mind
over matter
Why not see our spirits
in a whole new way.

We can see our beauty in a whole new way.
We can change the world.
We can start today.



Filed under Celebrating Difference, Family, Films & docs

10 responses to “Now Playing: ‘Mind Over Matter,’ our music video about Asperger’s Syndrome

  1. That was STUNNING! Just beautiful. I love my Meems man! And was that Euan singing? That really captured the humanity and beauty of all of the children involved. Loved the part where you were writing AM. So cool that your whole family was involved.


    What an accomplishment for your group! xo

    • Thanks so much Weezie. I love it too. It just has such a beautiful feel…like we’re looking at our kids through our eyes, exactly the way I wish/hope the world can see them. xo

  2. karla

    I CANNOT wait to see the new stars! When is the video available. Love that you are both light and grounded and that the kids were so at ‘home’ and at ease! Something to that – me thinks!

  3. Jane

    You squeezed my heart. So proud of this group and this message! Thank you.

  4. Sonia

    People’s reaction to our video is so touching. I hesitated for a while to share this little magic that we did together…it was like it was to precious to be shared. Most importantly by sharing the video, I was also letting the world know about Maryse’s diagnosys and exposing our family to it’s reality. And I felt like I wasn’t ready for this yet.

    Then this week Maryse had this public meltown at a pool and something happened. That is when I decided to post this message on my FB wall. Here is the message I posted: “…how do you say that your daughter had a good meltdown at the pool today…(as opposed to being “terrible” when it involves hitting!!) As I was trying to calm her in the locker room, this angel comes in from the pool, to ask if I needed help, that I had handled the situation very well! She tells me that she recognised my daughter in our music video which she had seen with her good friend Amy, last friday at the Festival!! So to all of you…so that you can find your own angel when you need it the most…”

    Thanks guys for helping us get through this with grace and with a lot more intelligence and awarness!

    Your friend,

    • Oh Sonia!! This story is like a little miracle. I’m so glad you shared it. It’s exactly why I love our group so much and how I feel/hope that every little thing we do has the power to make a difference.

      I had the privilege to hear Canada’s Governor General speak at a conference I was at this week and he talked about how people sometimes question helping just one person or just 100 people when our communities’ needs can be so great.

      But then he juxtaposed that question, with the metaphor of a drop of red dye in a glass full of water…does the drop change the colour of the glass? It does! Does every piece of effort we put out into the community change our community. Yes, it does…and this is proof. Merci chere amie. xoam

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