If you’ve seen the HBO movie Temple Grandin, based on the woman of the same name, you probably came away quite enlightened. Even “experts” could watch that film and come away feeling like they have a new, or at least enriched, way of looking at Autism.
Any new insight you could gain from that film will seem pale in comparison to what you’ll get from the latest documentary on Autism called Loving Lampposts: Living Autistic.
Of all the controversies or issues dividing the Autism community, they all boil down to two larger groups. Those that feel that Autism needs to be cured and those that feel that Autism, while a cause for struggle sometimes, is a part of who Autistics are.
Loving Lampposts opens and closes with Sam, an adorable little boy that visits his favourite lampposts in his favourite park every single day. The story in between is a journey taken by Sam’s father, Todd Drezner, in an effort to talk to parents, experts and people with Autism themselves and find out what Autism really is and should it be cured or embraced?
I don’t want to spoil it too much for you but chances are you will enjoy this movie no matter which group you may find yourself in. For the most part, half of the film is talking about curing Autism while the other half is about embracing it but at no point do you ever feel like there’s a break in the flow nor is there anyone trying to convince you to change your opinion.
Curing the Autism Epidemic
In the film, you’ll be introduced to several doctors from Defeat Autism Now (name has recently been changed to the Autism Research Institute) as well as many parents, including Jenny McCarthy, who believe that vaccines and other toxins are responsible for Autism in our children.
Also, along the way, you’ll be introduced to a lot of treatments that they use in treating their children.
Also discussed is the word epidemic and how it’s used in relation to Autism. In this portion of the movie, there’s a really great reference to the FedEx logo, that I feel, is a wonderful eye opener. I’m sure you’ll agree when you see it.
Neurodiversity – Just a Different Way of Being
You’ll also be introduced to several doctors and parents that feel that Autism may or may not be medical, may or may not be psychological… they don’t know.
What they do know is that, and I quote from the movie “I’ve never met one Autistic person I didn’t think was a beautiful person.. just has such a beautiful soul.”
Furthermore, you’ll be introduced to several people with Autism themselves, some are verbal and some are not, they are all different but you will hear from them all. Whether speaking to you or using a device that speaks for them, they share their frustrations and their thoughts on Autism, cures, neurodiversity and more.
If the Temple Grandin movie enlightened you, then Loving Lampposts: Living Autistic will give you far more insight into Autism and the Autism community than you had previously, no matter who you are.
Even the most seasoned Autism advocates may list off all of the things they have already heard before but will still come away from this movie with a broader sense of understanding.
In the end, as the film closes with Sam visiting his favourite lampposts, you get a very real sense of just how much his father has learned from this journey, not just about Autism, but his own son as well.
And with this film, he brings you on that journey so that you too, can learn the same thing for yourself. And you will.
Want to buy the movie? Want to get a discount?
From now until May 28, 2011, you can get $3 OFF the Loving Lampposts DVD by entering coupon code: lamppost
Quotes from the Film
Autism is a gift, disguised as a dilemma. – Sharisa Kochmeister (a nonverbal adult with Autism)
They tell me that Sam’s love of lampposts is Autistics behavior and that I should try to get rid of it. I can only say that love is not what makes us sick. It is, we’ve always been told, what makes us human. – Todd Drezner (film maker)
You haven’t got a big enough imagination for what your child could become – Johnny Seitz (adult with Autism)
There is an tremendous amount of emotional power connected with the idea of doing something, of acting. – Roy Richard Grinker (Author of Unstrange Minds)
We’re primed to see Autism more than ever before and despite all the negative hype, this may actually be good news. – Todd Drezner
I think some of the key aspects, what we would today term, as an intensive home based, early intervention program emphasizing music, movement, sensory integration, narration and imitation. They started to imitate me and once they did that, I became aware of them in my environment. – Stephen Shore