The Curious Autodidact

June 1, 2015

Courage of Mothers: Coping with Children who are Different

Filed under: media related,social justice,women heroes — Honilima @ 12:44 pm


Have a rainy day movie marathon and watch back to back two documentaries about autism HBO’s “Temple Grandin” and from Iceland, “A Mother’s Courage: Talking Back to Autism.”

Temple Grandin is likely the nation’s most famous person to speak so openly about her Autism. She is a professor at University of Colorado, at Fort Collins, and her life has been well-captured in her book “Thinking in Pictures” and in by famous neurologist Oliver Sacks. She was named in Time Magazine’s 2010 Top 100 “Most Influential People in the World” and I applaud her willingness to be the unofficial spokesperson for Autism in America. Claire Danes, who plays Grandin in this HBO production, does an outstanding job of capturing her sense of struggle and of wonder. This production won seven Emmy Awards—indeed well-deserved accolades. In viewing this movie you gain a sense of determination her mother had and that this challenge is indeed not for the faint of heart.

The second film, from Iceland, “A Mother’s Courage: Talking Back to Autism,” is an amazing look at Margret Dagmar Ericsdottir struggle to come to terms with her son Keli’s hidden potential. (It feels in part as if it must have been partially by the Icelandic tourism board as the scenery of her homeland is incredible). Keli has been diagnosed with Autism and after hearing there is essentially not a whole lot to be done she begins her quest to seek answers about the origins of this ailment that seems today to plague so many children, and is four time more common in boys. Her hunt brings her to America and the UK, where she interviews various researchers and parents with multiple autistic children. She learns from her visit how they cope with the dynamic needs of their special needs offspring. She interviews many experts including Soma Mukhopadhyay, creator of the Rapid Prompting Method who works at HALO in Austin whose work with children will knock your socks off. This is a terrific look at Autism and the various permutations of it, and the ways various people have learned to cope with the challenges of the children, and their quest to unlock their children’s brilliance amid their differing abilities.

Deborah Tannen’s comments about Gradin’s book Thinking in Pictures:

“What emerges in Thinking in Pictures is the document of an extraordinary human being, one who, in gracefully and lucidly bridging the gulf between her condition and our own, sheds light on the riddle of our common identity.”

-Deborah Tannen, author of “You Just Don’t Understand”


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