What is it like to be autistic? The Guardian’s latest VR film offers a glimpse of how a person on the autism spectrum copes with a stressful environment

The Party allows you to enter the world of an autistic teenager, Layla, who is at a surprise birthday celebration. You will hear her thoughts about what she is experiencing and how it is affecting her, and share the sensory overload that leads to a meltdown (an intense response to an overwhelming situation). The drama provides viewers with a powerful first-person perspective on the challenges that social situations may present to someone on the autism spectrum.

Autism affects more than one in 100 people in the UK. Compared with autistic males, females on the autism spectrum are more likely to go unrecognised and unsupported, often with severe consequences for their wellbeing and mental health. This is partly because the diagnostic conventions are biased towards males, meaning they are insensitive to more female-typical autism presentations. The under-diagnosis of girls and women also reflects the fact that many will develop strategies to mask their autism in order to manage day-to-day interactions.

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