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Fixing Luka — Jessica Ashman, 2011

Lucy is the older sister of a younger boy, Luka, who is autistic. She gets angry and frustrated with her brother’s obsessive nature and lack of boundaries. Lucy believes Luka needs to be fixed and makes notes in her diary about how she can do that. Luka destroys the diary and Lucy runs off. She discovers a secret shed that leads her to realise and learns Luka does not need to be fixed in the way she believes he does – that not everyone has to be made to “work perfectly”.

A beautiful short animation about what it is like to grow up with a sibling who has autism and carries a lovely message about understanding and acceptance.

Classroom Activities

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  • At the beginning of the film, what do the images of the stamps, cars, sugar cubes and ducks suggest to us about Luka?
  • Symbolism/close-up: what does the symbolism of the keyhole in the back of Lukas’s head suggest?
  • How do Luka and Lucy differ in appearance? Why do you think the filmmaker has chosen to do this?
  • Describe the sound of Luka’s movements – why is this important/significant? What does it make appear to be like?
  • How does the music changes when the door bangs? Why does it change? Why is Lucy concerned when the door bangs and why does she reacts that way? Why does the director choose a close-up of Lucy’s eyes after the door has banged shut and Luca stands up?
  • The family picture on the wall changes as Lucy “saves” the sugar cubes – why do you think this is?
  • Mise-en-scène: Lucy carries around tools (spanner, screwdriver, needle and thread) – can you think of what this symbolism suggests?
  • Why do you think Lucy is so annoyed when her arm is torn? What happens to Luka when Lucy becomes angry with him? (Refer to sound/puppet animation.)
  • Why is it significant that Luka destroys the diary/book Lucy is keeping?
  • Lucy tries to comfort Luka but doesn’t understand. What does Lucy take out that gets Luka’s attention? How does Lucy react at first when Luka connects with her and how does she react when she realises that he just wanted the thimble?
  • Describe the sound/music as Lucy runs away from home. What does it suggest about her emotions? What about the weather as she runs away? What does it symbolise?
  • Describe the music when Lucy finds the hidden shed. What is its effect?
  • What do the parts in the shed remind you of?
  • What do they keys symbolise? Why do you think there are so many keys in the shed?
  • Describe what we see when Lucy unlocks her mind and describe the music as she does so – what effect does the music have?
  • When Lucy is able to “fix” the solider toy and she unlocks her own mind, what does she hope for? Why do we have a close-up at this moment?
  • Describe the change in the music as she leaves the shed to go home. What does the change in music suggest?
  • Describe Luka’s reaction when Lucy places the key in his lock and describe the sounds we hear. How does Lucy react? Why?
  • When Luka’s mind is opened, the lighting changes. Describe the change and suggest a reason why it changes.
  • What does Lucy see and hear when she goes to “fix” Luka’s mind? What does it suggest?
  • How does the music change when their mother comes in? Why does the mother move towards the thimbles? What does Lucy giving Luka her thimble represent?


  • What books, films, TV shows etc. can you think of that feature neurodiverse characters? How are they presented to the reader/viewer? Do you think this is accurate?
  • Make a list of books in your library that feature neurodiverse characters and read one. Or make a list of films and watch one.
  • Use the Different Minds website to research autism in Scotland. Produce a leaflet/poster with key facts/findings; explain what the message of “One Scotland, Different Voices” is.
  • Greta Thunberg is autistic. Read here what she says about it. How has her autism been of benefit to her? Has any of this surprised you? Why (not)?
  • In the film, Lucy wants to fix her brother rather than support him as their mum does. How does their mum support Luka? How do/could you support a neurodiverse classmate?



  • Write a haiku that sums up how Lucy learns to accept Luka, or one that shows how Luka sees the world.
  • Take screenshots of key moments involving Luka. Write what he might be thinking at that moment.


  • Create a short film related to the theme of difference, bullying, autism etc…that could be shown at school assemblies – it could be stop motion, animation, live action etc…


  • Design a slogan reflecting acceptance and understanding of neurodiversity in your school.
  • Design a poster explaining different types of neurodiversity.


  • Make your own “key”. Design a key with images/words individual to you – let people know a little about you.
  • Make a class puzzle. Each pupil is given a puzzle piece to design a representation of themselves; the puzzle pieces can be put together to form a class puzzle showing everyone is different but can fit together.


  • Create a pupil friendly PowerPoint on neurodiversity – explain what it is, how you can help etc…
  • Research famous people who are neurodiverse and create fact files/autobiographical posters for display in school.


  • Class resolutions. Have everyone make a resolution or commit to doing something that will promote understanding of neurodiversity in school.

Clip Details

Year of Production 2011
Genre Drama, Stop-Motion
Curriculum Areas Expressive Arts, Health and Wellbeing, Modern Languages, Literacy and English, Religious and Moral Education
Director Jessica Ashman
Country of Origin UK
Medium / Content 3D Animation, Fiction, Colour, Sound, No Dialogue
Themes Feelings, Relationships
Clip Length 11:26
Clip Length 11:26
Age Group P5-P7, S1-S3, S4-S6