The search for the causes of autism continues, as do investigations into recognising the symptoms. The video above tries to shed some light on the experience of autism.

A 360-degree, virtual reality film, it documents the story of a 16-year-old girl who has autism. Layla is at a surprise birthday party that her family is throwing for her mother, but even an everyday situation around familiar people can be overwhelming and stressful for those on the autism spectrum.

In the video, titled The Party, viewers can hear Layla’s inner thoughts – voiced by the Honey Jones, a teenager with autism – about what she is experiencing and how it is affecting her. At several points, viewers can even get an idea of the sensory overload that leads to a meltdown. Since the video is narrated is narrated in first person, the challenges are more apparent, enabling greater understanding and empathy.

The Party is based on a concept by the author Lucy Hawking and is written by Sumita Majumdar, who used her own experiences as a person with autism in similar social situations.