Loving Lampposts, a review

4 Apr

Loving Lampposts is a new film about autism by filmmaker and autism parent Todd Drezner. You get a good idea of the direction of the movie from the subtitle–Loving Lampposts, living autistic. I “watched” the film. As in, it’s hard to find an hour and a half solid to watch something through. Instead I watched a little on TV and listened and watched what I could on my computer as I worked. I really wish I had blocked out the full hour and a half to watch it in one sitting as it is quite well done. I agree with Shannon Rosa in her review: this is a film I’ve waited for to fill many roles. It is a film that I wish I had available when we got the diagnosis for our kid. It is a film I’d like to recommend to people who ask about autism.

Todd Drezner narrates the film. He does a good job of using narration lightly. He mostly narrates to make the transitions between the segments of the film. In general, he lets the people–the autistics, the parents, the professionals–in the film present the various ideas.

The first part of the film introduces the ideas of autism as a medical condition and neurodiversity. The vaccine discussion does come up later in the film. It is great to see the vaccine discussion not as parents vs. a mainstream medical establishment. It will come as no surprise to readers here that many parents do not subscribe to the vaccine-injury model, and Mr. Drezner presents them in their own voices. Some of those parents featured in the film include Kristina Chew and Roy Richard Grinker.

The discussion of cure and vaccines needs to be addressed. But what makes the film really work is the time spent on autistics. Autistic kids and a good amount of time with autistic adults. Stephen Shore talks about his life and his work in education. Also featured autistics include Barbara Moran, Kassiane Sibley and Sharisa Kochmeister.

There are great segments with Lyndon and his mother Lila Howard. Lyndon was born in the early 1950’s, during the “childhood schizophrenia” and “refrigerator mother” era. He’s now living in his own apartment, with his mother still as his primary caregiver.

Dora Raymaker is also featured, communicating with AAC through her computer.

Director Todd Drezner is not heavy handed, but he dispels myths. Here are two of them: Neurodiversity is not all about “high functioning” autistic adults. Neurodiveristy advocates do not deny that autism is a disability.

I’ve never wanted to attend an autism-parent/biomed convention. But Loving Lampposts really makes me want to put into action my desire to attend Autcom or Auttreat. Loving Lampposts was partially filmed at Autcom 2007.

As I wrote above, I wish I had this film years ago. I wish I could have seen it. I wish I could have offered it to the many people who have asked questions about autism. I’ll certainly be telling my family and friends about this and offering it to people asking about autism.

Disclosure: I asked for and was provided with a copy of the DVD to screen. I am very grateful that this was made available to me, but I am not compensated in any way for purchases of the film. With that said: You can purchase the film from Amazon.com, or from the Loving Lampposts website. It isn’t available yet on Netflix, but you can put it in your queue and give them the idea that they should make it available.

2 Responses to “Loving Lampposts, a review”

  1. Richard April 5, 2011 at 02:55 #

    Not a bad idea to recommend your local high school, community library, college or university purchase the film for their collection. In my experience, librarians are more than happy to purchase DVDs recommended by users.

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