Monday, July 29, 2013

"Neurotypical" Ho hum

I just saw "neurotypical".  Naturally I was piqued by the trailer of the black guy in the movie saying he did not want to be cured and a neurotypical life was not necessarily better than an autistic life.  This would also pique pro ND people, anti ND people as well as others not as jaded as myself, who would be shocked to believe anyone could say such a thing if they have newly diagnosed children and are new to the whole autism scene. 

The girl talking about how just because dating does not happen to Temple Grandin does not mean it doesn't happens to others was slightly interesting and provided a smidgen of comic relief. 

Most of the documentary was rather boring.  Not much insight into what life is like for an autistic, even a higher functioning one.  Mostly boring discourses about playing tag, how they feel about certain social interactions, etc. 

It became slightly more interesting when ASAN member Paula Westby-Durbin came on, stating that she had not heard about PDD or autism until about 2006 (when she would have been well into middle age) and then apparently got a diagnosis somewhere but is quite vague as to where and on what basis she was diagnosed. I had wondered about her and I wonder what sort of childhood she had and if her parents sought medical treatment for her as a child.   She gives some slight explanations such as she lacked friends growing up, yet was successfully able to find a husband and apparently has a job where she will be paying off a mortgage on a house. 

At the end of the documentary, they show captions giving the names of these people and a little bit on their background.  Apparently, the filming was not done properly and there was not enough room on the screen to read everything and they were flashed for not nearly long enough for anyone to really take it in and read it properly.  I'm perplexed as to why PBS would air something so poorly edited. 

Adam Larsen, the filmmaker, gave some commentary at the very end which started out as somewhat astute stating that the media only concentrated on severe children or people who were savants.  Though the latter may be true, I'm not even sure how the former is true.  He then went on to talk about how a number of autistics don't want to be cured and are comfortable with who they are.  Then stated his own bias where he apparently believes that autism is a legitimate form of neurology rather than disease. 

It's unfortunate they did such a good job of marketing the film but the content was so lacking. 

I'm still waiting for someone to make a documentary about autistic children in special schools, frustrated with their life and as adults, frustrated that they can't keep a job or find a mate.  However, I won't hold my breath. 

5 comments:

Roger Kulp said...

I don't think you're going to see a movie like that.The simple reason,most autistics over the age of thirty,those with more serious problems,not the higher functioning ASAN types,or those that can "pass for normal",like my sister,are locked away in "residential treatment facilities".Often this means regular nursing homes along with medically fragile elderly.

What a lot of people do not realize is that we began to see a generational change among parents of children in the millennial generation.While not all parents of seriously disabled children decided not to put their children in homes and institutions,more than ever before chose not to.I escaped this because my mother cared enough about me to stand up and confront doctors,teachers and psychiatrists that tried to put me away in these places,even going to court when need be.

I lived with my mother until she died,in April 2012.The hospital where my mother died,tried to do that again,at first my landlord stepped in to stop them,but it was because I was far enough along in my treatment for CFD,and had improved so much,that Adult Protective Services decided I could live on my own.Had I not been lucky enough to learn this was the cause of my autism,and treat it,I'd be in a home of some kind right now.

Johnathan,I know you have devoted a couple of blog posts a few years back to your growing up.but I don't seem to recall you saying that anybody,be it at school or after being arrested,whatever wanted to put you in an institution for the rest of your life,like they did with me.

jonathan said...

@Roger. No one, to the best of my knowledge, recommended lifelong institutionalization for me. However, as a child, some of the people my parents consulted with including one long-term therapist recommended sending me away to residential school as a child. Fortunately, my parents did not take this recommendation but I did have to attend special ed schools until age 14.

Anonymous said...

"She gives some slight explanations such as she lacked friends growing up, yet was successfully able to find a husband"

Eh, lots of people in the world don't use social skills to get married - they have matchmakers instead.

Maybe her parents arranged blind dates for her, or she was a mail-order bride, or soemthing?

Anonymous said...

"Apparently, the filming was not done properly and there was not enough room on the screen to read everything and they were flashed for not nearly long enough for anyone to really take it in and read it properly. I'm perplexed as to why PBS would air something so poorly edited."

Maybe the filmmakers couldn't find any autistic people whose Special Interest is film editing, and then PBS decided to air the thing without any non-autistic contributions to the film?

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see more documentaries about adults with autism who never had the benefit of receiving the help (and still cannot) that is available now. You think autism just recently surfaced? I am a 59 year old aspie who has gone through the ringer of misdiagnoses. I thought this was a great film and truthfully can say that I if there was a pill that could change me into a neurotypical I would not take it.