I mentioned before that PJ and I were recently filmed for a documentary about living with autism. I don’t know when it will be finished or shown, but I do want to mention some documentaries that I have seen about autism that I really appreciated. When PJ was small and autism was unheard of, there was nothing like this for us to refer to. I mentioned these films in “Inspired By Autism”,  but this is for those who have not read the book.

The documentary “Autism, Oh The Possibilities” is full of good information about autism and the professionals who work with our people. They discussed ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) which is a behavioral intervention program to work with people with autism who have problem behaviors such as PJ did. (It is too expensive for many of us, but greatly helpful to those who can afford it). It is one of the few interventions that has stood the test of time.

This show addressed the mercury in the vaccine situation by explaining that some children can excrete mercury and some can’t. They explained that there are things that can interfere with the excretion of mercury. Though I, too, am suspicious of the vaccines, I would never advocate stopping them, because that would cause an even bigger problem.

This movie gives tips on the diagnosis of autism, such as observing and making note of the person’s development; of their individual cognitive processing difficulties (do they understand what is said or done?); and of their relationship to others. It gives tips on how to relate to people with autism, such as following their lead, seeing what they are interested in and building on that interest. The film has so much more information than I can relate here, but it is well worth watching if you get a chance.

Another film that really interested me was “Autism, The Musical”.  It focused on the Miracle Project run by Elaine Hill  who led children with autism in writing, rehearsing and performing a musical. The show included interviews with people with autism and their parents so that we could get both perspectives.  The show explored the struggles that parents and children had to endure in order to create the musical and make it a success. I don’t know how they had the courage to undertake such a daunting task. I hope you get a chance to see it.

The movie “Rainman” starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise did a good job of depicting  an adult with autism. The movie, written by Ronald Bass won an Academy Award for best screenplay. They all really did their homework.

“Miracle Run”, a movie about a single mother of twins with autism did a good job of portraying the plight of  single parents who are raising children with autism.  “Family Pictures”, a movie starring Angelica Houston showed how autism affects the whole family and the conflicts that can result.

Of course, the movie “Temple Grandin”, starring Claire Dane is the latest movie about a person with autism. Temple has made a success of her life in spite of her obstacles. I saw Temple since the movie came out and she is very satisfied with the final product. Maybe you saw her at some of the Award shows that the movie was nominated  for. Temple is one of my Heroes.

Nothing like this was available when PJ was small, which only added to the sense of isolation that I felt. With the increase in the diagnosis, we need films such as these to help increase public awareness. From talking to parents, I am finding that public outings are still just as difficult as they were 30 years ago.

Until next time; May Peace and Love surround you.

Claudreen Jackson


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