Richard and I finished up our “staycation” by watching the Oscar nominated short documentaries at the IFC Center (Independent Film Channel) yesterday. As I watched them I thought about the documentary I would most like to see. It would be about Autism and Autistic people. It would go back to Lovaas and Hans Aspergers, then Bettelheim, the evolution of what we thought we knew about Autism and those who are autistic and the ways in which we thought to “treat” it. It would cover the move away from institutionalization to the current, though still negative thinking regarding the neurology we call Autism. The documentary would have dozens and dozens of Autistic people of all ages, non-speaking, speaking, sometimes speaking, those who have careers, to those who are unable to work to those who work for themselves. It would look at functioning labels and address why those labels work against everyone, it would cover the various myths surrounding autism and why those myths are ultimately destructive and limiting. It would be a collaborative effort of Autistic and non-Autistic people. It would be an example of what we can create if we work together, regardless of our neurology. That’s the documentary I would like to see made.
Short of making such a documentary myself, I won’t hold my breath, though. The whole idea of neurodiversity is considered radical and even threatening by many. I understand that. I understand that it is not a popular or particularly good way for organizations to raise money, especially those whose main goal is to fund research for treatments and cures. I understand that change happens slowly. I understand that any movement involving the rights of a minority moves slowly before it is embraced by more than a radical few. But I also understand the power of good film making and that it can reach many more than any written piece could…
If you could see a documentary about Autism and Autistic people, what would it cover?
Em – 2003