I, amongst others, was highly critical of the film for two reasons. Firstly, its highly provocative title claims that it shows the daily reality of living with an autistic person. Secondly, the jaw dropping bleating of a mother who told how she contemplated murder/suicide because of her life with the hell of autism.
Now, an interview with the filmmaker, one Lauren Thierry, has revealed the calculatedly misleading nature of the film and the lengths Thierry went to ensure the film got the ‘harrowing’ footage needed.
The party line is supposed to be that anything that raises awareness you’re supposed to be happy about. That notion is 10 years old. At this point we need to be showing the world what the vast reality truly is.” She says that reality includes images of kids not sleeping through the night, banging their heads against the wall or running into traffic — not images of kids setting basketball records or passionately playing the violin.
This is not accuracy. This is a calculated agenda. Of _course_ kids not sleeping through the night or banging their heads against walls, or running into traffic are realities. No one disputes that. But Autism Every Day (and Thierry) in the above quote are explicitly excluding images of kids setting basketball records or playing the violin. Those are _also_ realities. I showed another reality at the end of my original post – that of my beautiful daughter grinning from ear to ear as she bounced on her trampoline.
You are not ‘showing the world what the reality truly is’ Mr/Ms Thierry. You are, by your own admission, deliberately excluding anything not capable of inducing pity.
And what about the events that the filmmakers _did_ record? If you’re going to deliberately, consciously exclude the varied reality of autistic life then surely it behooves you to at least present the material you _do_ choose to show accurately?
Thierry told her subjects not to do their hair, vacuum or bring in the therapists. She showed up with her crew at their homes sight unseen and kept the cameras rolling as a mom literally wrestled with her son to get him to brush his teeth, as a 9-year-old had a public meltdown, as a 5-year-old had his diaper changed. And, as moms revealed dark and uncomfortable truths about living with autism. The result is a window into an exhausting world of interminable work.
Yet again, this is _not_ accuracy, this is a premeditated attempt to wilfully misrepresent people. As Ballastexistenz says in her post:
This was, as expected, not really a â€œslice of everyday lifeâ€ from these parentsâ€™ lives, but a deliberately engineered take on the worst they could make things look.
You have to wonder at the motives. Why would someone who claims to be an autism advocate deliberately create and release a deliberately inaccurate film?
But it gets worse.
The majority of the harsh criticism surrounding the film is directed at Alison Tepper Singer, a mom featured in the film and a staff member of Autism Speaks. About midway through the film, Singer discusses her reaction to inadequate classrooms. “I remember that was a scary moment for me when I realized I had sat in the car for about 15 minutes and actually contemplated putting Jody in the car and driving off the George Washington Bridge. That would be preferable to having to put her in one of these schools.” It was only because of her other child, she said, that she didn’t do it.
Both autistic and typical families have reacted with outrage and disgust to Singer’s statement — calling for her children to be removed from her custody and even drawing a connection between her and Karen McCarron. Thierry responds by calling Singer “gutsy and courageous.” She was expecting a call from Singer asking that the footage not be used. But that call never came. “You don’t say stuff like that — camera rolling — unless you are truly ready to play ball with the entire world,” Thierry says.
If most mothers of autistic children, Thierry responds, look hard enough within themselves they will find that they have played out a similar scenario in their minds. “If this is not your reality, then God bless you,” she says.
What in God’s name is going _on_ here? How can someone be described as gutsy and courageous for contemplating murdering their disabled child and then being stopped by the thought of their non-disabled child? Memo to Thierry: that’s not courage or guts. For you to paint it as such is frighteningly irresponsible. If anyone who parents both a disabled and non-disabled child feels it _is_ gutsy then do the same thing – get both kids in a room, tell someone you were thinking of killing the disabled one but because of your other child you won’t. If you feel gutsy or courageous after telling your disabled child its OK to kill them but its not OK to kill their non disabled child then God bless you. Because you need it.