Saturday, January 20, 2007

Autism Every Day - The Realities of Raising Severely Autistic Children



The film Autism Every Day will soon show - January 22 and 27 - at the Sundance Film Festival. Like many efforts to treat or educate autistic children or to speak about the realities of some autistic persons this film has generated criticism amongst some autistic persons, caregivers and professionals who do not believe that Autism is a disorder. From that perspective autism is simply a variation of human existence neither inherently better or worse than any other variation.

Personally, as the parent of a severely autistic 11 year old boy who I love with all my being, I appreciate the courage of the parents in the film who have told the stories of their children, and their families, for the world to hear. The world should understand that, while there are many very intelligent, articulate and talented persons with autism, there are also many autistic persons with severe intellectual, communication, sensory and behavioral challenges. These challenges pose serious risks to the health, safety and lives of the autistic children themselves and to family members. The reality is raisng and genuinely caring for severely autistic children takes an enormous toll on families, even with the great joy which the same children can bring to our lives.

I have not seen the entire 44 minute version of Autism Every Day. I have viewed the shorter version, which is on line at the Autism Speaks web site, and can be found at this link:

http://www.autismspeaks.org/sponsoredevents/autism_every_day.php

I thank the makers of Autism Every Day the parents who appear in the film, their autistic children and other family members for describing their realities, their challenges.

6 comments:

Jonsmum said...

Thankyou for this post. I'd just like to say that I share your sentiments 100% on this, and I'm interested in seeing the 44 minute version.

Contrary to a lot of negative opinion surrounding this video, I believe it shows the everyday reality of family life with, and for severely autistic children.
Most importantly, it is aimed at showing this reality.

mcewen said...

I haven't watched the video but I did see a clip on someone else's website - it was a repeat [loop] of a mum expressing her negative feelings.
The controversy surrounding the film, warnings to boycott it and so on, leave me as usual, sitting on the fence.
Best wishes

Autism Reality NB said...

You are welcome jonsmum. It is a shame that parents are pilloried for descibing the realities of life raising severely autistic children.

Autism Reality NB said...

mcewen

I can't remain on the fence. I also think that the severely autistic children being raised by the famlies in the video will suffer if their parents voices are silenced by hysterical reaction of people with no responsibility for raising them or caring for them as children, or as adults when their parents have passed on.

The "Autism is Beautiful" movement seems at times to be ashamed of the more severely autistic members of the spectrum.

Autism Reality NB said...

mcewen

I can't remain on the fence. I also think that the severely autistic children being raised by the famlies in the video will suffer if their parents voices are silenced by hysterical reaction of people with no responsibility for raising them or caring for them as children, or as adults when their parents have passed on.

The "Autism is Beautiful" movement seems at times to be ashamed of the more severely autistic members of the spectrum.

Lara said...

I am of two minds about the video.

On the one hand, I agree with you completely that this side of autism needs to be shown. I am also a parent of a child with severe autism. When I first saw the video, I was founding myself crying and nodding many times. I was glad to see an accurate portrayal of some of the tribulations that can come with raising a child with severe disabilities.

On the other hand, I was bothered by how overwhelmingly negative it was. Life with autism can be ugly and hard. But it isn't always. There are wonderful momments in between. There is still love and joy.

In short, I think it is an important and powerful film. But I think it would have been even more powerful if it had shown a little more balance.

I am very interested in seeing if the longer version portrays this balance.