Listen 2 Us - Literacy, Self-Determination, and Interdependence for Nonspeakers



Fully included in the regular education curriculum from K thru college graduation, I had the good fortune of studying with 52 teachers, 22 professors, 18 school support assistants, 15 after school assistants, 5 speech therapists, 4 occupational therapists, and 6 principals in 2 different school districts over 18 years. Listen2Us is my way of giving back to each and every one of you with the hope that every child receives the same kind of education I’ve enjoyed and benefitted from. Inclusion shouldn’t be a lottery.

– David James (“Deej”) Savarese

Superfest #NoBodyIsDisposable Film Series: Deej  Screening & Panel

Join us on Thursday, July 23rd at 5pm PT/ 8pm ET, for the second in the #NoBodyisDisposable Summer Series, highlighting the politics of disposability.   Following the film, panelists will discuss the power of poetry, art, and other forms of creative resistance, and the potential for that power to create lasting liberatory change--both cultural and political.  

Panelist include artful activist and the film DEEJ's subject and co-producer, David James Savarese; poet, blogger and activist Lateef McLeod; and Assistant Professor of Disability Studies as well as disability justice activist Sara M. Acevedo (moderator), 

Recording of Panel


Creating Hope in 2020: A Dialog with DJ Savarese

Hope is not easy. Hope is hard. But what if we imagine living life as a perpetual meditation on Hope? In this webinar, DJ makes visible what helps him create hopeful possibilities in a world that is thankfully always coming-into-being. As always, a dialogue ensues. Recommended for anyone and everyone. Please join us!

Webinar recording


Neurodiversity & Creative Practice--Thursday, April 23rd 1:30pm EDT

Please join in on Thursday, April 23rd at 1:30 EST for "NEURODIVERSITY & CREATIVE PRACTICE: A Presentation & Dialogue with DJ Savarese. The zoom link is HERE.
The link is password protected, so email me at, to obtain the password anytime BEFORE noon on Thursday. Thanks for your interest in joining the discussion!


Past webinars are archived here.  

Poet Wants You To Rethink What It Means To Be Nonspeaking

Iowa Public Radio--Talk of Iowa, February 20, 2020

Simply by his resume, poet and documentarian David James Savarese is exceptional. His <a class=">Simply by his resume, poet and documentarian David James Savarese is exceptional. His poems and prose have been published in journals and magazines across the country, including the Iowa Review, and his 2017 documentary Deej: Inclusion Shouldn’t Be a Lottery, which he co-produced, earned a 2018 Peabody Award and Emmy nomination.  Savarese is also autistic and nonspeaking. He describes poetry as his native language.  “I learned how to sign and use photos and objects to communicate before I learned how to read and write. I loved having ways to communicate what I wanted or needed, but I didn’t have any way to communicate my hopeful ideas,” Savarese says. “Eventually I learned to read and write at school, and slowly started to use words to talk about my life… The world came into focus and I loved what I saw.”   

Transcript of interview



Teen Mentoring blog post: "How to Become an Artful Activist" by DJ 

"Each of us has the capacity to make our world a better place. Knowing and believing that is called 'self-efficacy'."-- DJ Savarese

"Write Everyday, Make it a Practice" by DJ

Contributor's Spotlight, Bellingham Review No. 77

What the Movie Deej Means To Me As A Non-Speaking Autistic Man

Film review by Jeremy Sicile-Kira

Documenting Disability:  The Importance of Disability Expertise

  • Be sure to check out this amazing post about the contribution of disabled documentarians and filmmakers, including DJ Savarese.  "We need disabled filmmakers to propel the new documentary cinema forward, challending assumptions of disability by shedding light on the diversity of experiences people with disabilities encounter."  -Dr. Emily Beitiks

DJ Savarese Tells His Story in New Documentary 'Deej'

Deej Highlights Interdependence, Challenges Assumptions  The Oberlin College Review, October 6, 2017

ASAN Harriet McBryde Johnson Award for Non-Fiction 2018 - Gala speech by DJ Savarese

Deej, an America Reframed documentary film received a 2017 Peabody Award!

WXXI - Connections: Discussing the Reel Mind Theatre and Film Series

  • Evan Dawson at Rochester, NY--Excerpt from panel discussion: