There are several great movies out there about people with Autism. It would be great if these movies were held by every doctor’s office that delivers autism diagnoses and loaned to parents so they have some real life examples of what autism looks like.
These are the ones I have watched recently.
We thought you’d never ask: voices of people with autism is a video of 6 autistic adults varying from non-verbal to highly verbal. They talk or type using text to speech devices to share what Autism is and what the challenges are and what the benefits are. They also talk about what good support means to them.
Vectors of autism, is a documentary about Laura Nagle,an autistic adult architect. It presents information about what autism is, her personal experiences, snip its of a few other autistic people and spectacularly artistic filming. One part that really resonated with me was her difficulty in accepting that she has a disability and deserves disability assistance. I too had a hard time applying for assistance for my son, especially since it is under the department of Children’s Mental Health and this doesn’t sit well with me as it is not a mental health issue, but rather a neurological one.
Wretches and Jabberers is a documentary of two autistic adults Tracy Thresher and Larry Bissonnette who travel to Sri Lanka, Japan and Finland with their aides and meet up with other autistics. It is really neat to see how they experience the world and connect with others worldwide who are similar to them. Both have limited speech and use text to voice typing devices to aide them in communication. My frustration was that sometimes the filming went to fast and I was unable to finish reading what they had typed in its entirety and I really wanted to read all that they had to say. As much work as still needs to be done towards autism acceptance, it was nice to see that the United States is leading the way in this direction as other countries are still much farther behind.
Temple Grandin produced by HBO is a documentary about her life, growing from an autistic child to a highly successful adult in the slaughter house industry. In spite of recommendations she be institutionalized, she is guided by an extremely supportive family and a few teachers who encourages her in her strengths which allows her to be successful.
Positively Autistic is a documentary put together by Canadian CBC news. It has interviews with leaders in the Autistic Rights movement. Amanda Baggs is an Autistic Right Advocate who is nonverbal, but uses blogging and videos to communicate. Estee Klar-Wolfond is a parent of a child with autism who has started the Autism Acceptance Project and The Joys of Autism blog. Ari Ne’eman has Aspergers and is the Founding President of The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network. Michael Moon is an autistic musician and photographer, and is also President of the Autism Acceptance Project. Laurent Mottron, M.D., Ph.D., DEA, is a psychiatrist and researcher who specializes in the study of autism in the Department of Psychiatry at the Université de Montréal. Scott Robertson has Aspergers and is the Vice President of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network. The movie is a good mix of information and personal experiences.
There are also some great fiction movies out there that have main characters with autism or could be assumed to have autism.
Adam is a movie about an adult with aspergers who is living alone after his father’s death. He emerges from his social isolation to strike up a relationship with a new neighbor. There are many bumps in the relationship due to Adam’s social difficulties, but it is a realistic portrayal of a lovable autistic adult who is positively portrayed and able to succeed in life.
The odd life of Timothy Green does not specifically say its main character has autism, however, many of his actions could be interpreted that way. But it is not really a movie about disability or differences as much as it is about parenting and learning to love the child you have rather than the child you imagined; a very inspirational movie.
And just being released now is a new movie, The Story of Luke. I haven’t seen this one yet, but it is about an autistic adult seeking a job and a romantic relationship once the supportive members of his family are all gone and he is left on his own.
Please share any others you have seen, what they are about and what you thought of them…