Singer. Actress. Autism Ambassador.
Actress and singer Samantha Elisofon co-starred in the award-winning short film, Keep the Change, which has been remade as a feature film of the same name, debuting at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. Samantha is a member of E.P.I.C. Players, a uniquely inclusive theater company for talented performers with (and without) disabilities. She also performs with DreamStreet Theatre Company. In addition, Samantha is the subject of the memoir, My Picture Perfect Family: What Happens When One Twin Has Autism. Written by Samantha’s mother Marguerite Elisofon, this book charts one family’s journey raising Samantha and her twin brother. Diagnosed with autism as a toddler, confronting dire predictions and negative stereotypes, Samantha started singing with perfect pitch at age 7 and graduated Pace University, cum laude.
Samantha’s Film: Keep the Change
KEEP THE CHANGE is a love story written for and starring adults on the autism spectrum. It will make its international debut at the TriBeCa Festival in April 2017. When David, an upper-class charmer is forced to attend a support group for people with autism, he meets a young woman who challenges his identity as “normal”. Eventually, David must choose between his playboy persona and the opportunity to make a real connection with someone who can understand him.
Samantha in the Media
Hire Samantha to Perform
Samantha is a talented singer and actress who starred in the short and feature-length films Keep the Change and performs with E.P.I.C. Players and DreamStreet Theater Group in their plays and cabarets. She is available to share her talents as a singer, actress, and speaker. If you’d like to learn more, please contact her.
Samantha has shown numerous times that she is able to meet and exceed creative and social challenges with grace. Not only has she grown as an artist, but she has shown a personal commitment to grow as a career professional; she consistently arrives on time and prepared for all events and classes, she passionately volunteers her time for extra performances and youth services, she follows clear instruction, she communicates on her and the organization’s behalf expertly, and she is respectful and kind to her peers and colleagues.Aubrie Therrien
My Picture Perfect Family
What Happens When One Twin Has Autism
On December 26th, 1990 Marguerite Elisofon gave birth to twins: Samantha and Matthew. They soon learned that Samantha was on the autistic spectrum, and most “experts” weren’t optimistic about her chances for leading a normal life. But Marguerite and her family refused to accept these limitations. Twenty-three challenging years later, Samantha graduated from college . . . cum laude! My Picture Perfect Family tells their courageous story. It’s a tale of unconditional love, a portrait of authentic parenthood, and a message of hope to all families. Learn more
“I’d like to keep the world posted that growing up was an ongoing struggle, and I know I was a bummer for my parents and twin brother. My parents couldn’t take me anywhere because I had unpredictable meltdowns and turned many outings into horrible disasters. It was really hard for family to tolerate my behavior at restaurants, movie theatres and even vacations because I lost my temper and was out of control. On the positive side, my family went out of their way to help me make a lot of progress both academically and socially. At the end of the day, it was an amazing accomplishment for my family to support me for so many years with time, hard work and perseverance. Mom always kept on going no matter what anyone said and she wouldn’t accept “no” for an answer. Dad always worked so hard to pay for my education and all the therapists and tutors who helped me to progress and ultimately accomplish many of my goals. After years of embarrassing my brother and making his life Chinese water torture, I was so delighted that he invited me to visit him at Vassar for a weekend. I knew I’d finally come far enough that he wanted to include me in his life. Although there’s still plenty of room for me to grow and improve, I want the world to recognize that I could not be where I am today without all of my family’s endless love and support.
If I were to give the best advice to parents of a child on the autistic spectrum, I’d suggest that they learn to be very patient and teach their son or daughter how to persevere in both their strengths and weaknesses and to pursue their passions. Give your children the confidence to explore the world and learn to be flexible. But the most important strategy is to set a wonderful example–keep on striving and never give up.”