FORETHOUGHT

Ferenc was a pupil at Harborough School for children on the autistic spectrum when we met in 1991 (see An Autistic Friendship). At that stage, aged 12, he occasionally uttered a few words, but he has essentially been silent since around 1992. When Ferenc was 14, I introduced him to an animation program on my home computer. First I showed him a short, 16-frame animation my son had made, then I showed him it one frame at a time. At once Ferenc was keen to make a film of his own.

Using skills from a familiar Paint program, and with a minimal, technical, contribution from me, Ferenc made a sequence of sixteen frames. He then played it back, looked at the rather jumpy results and proceeded to produce a smoothly running sequence, which he did not check until it was complete. I was amazed and impressed by his competence. The depth he'd given the screen by making the rectangle whizz off and then back towards us particularly struck me. To make sure I was seeing it the same way Ferenc was, I said "That looks to me as though it's going away and then coming towards us, is that how it looks to you?" and he nodded enthusiastically.