One of our own appears in today's edition of The New York Times.
Blogger, friend, and fellow autism mom Kristina Chew, who chronicles life with her son Charlie on Autismland and provides soapbox wisdom on AutismVox, is quoted in an article about today's premeire of the extended version of Autism Every Day at the Sundance festival.
I've been hoping that, in response to concerns raised here and elsewhere about the one-sided portrayal of the bleak life of parents of children with autism, the lengthier version would attempt to provide a more balanced view - not a whitewashed view, just a more accurate one. I'm not sure it does. From The New York Times:
As he worked on a documentary about children with autism, Eric Solomon wanted its opening sequence to have an impact similar to the start of “Saving Private Ryan,” he said: “The soldiers are storming the beach and you feel like you’re in battle with them.”
The film, “Autism Every Day,” is being shown starting Jan. 21 at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Its first 90 seconds are an uncomfortable, compelling sequence of children crying, shouting and rocking as their parents struggle to restrain, comfort and connect with them.
Enter Kristina to provide an alternate perspective on Solomon's goal of making viewers feel like they're "in battle with them":
That focus has angered some families. Kristina Chew, a mother of an autistic child who writes two blogs about the disorder, said the initial version of the documentary “portrayed a tone of hopelessness.”
I am trying to keep an open mind about the new extended version, which I have not seen. The New York Times reports: "While the filmmakers capture hope, love and determination, the documentary also reveals the unrelenting stress and occasional despair in rearing children with autism."
Most of the parents I know who are raising children with autism experience stress sometimes. Some of them experience "occasional despair." And all of them are fueled by "hope, love, and determination." I hope that the Autism Every Day that's screening at Sundance is both new and improved, and that it depicts the whole spectrum of emotion, the whole spectrum of experience, the whole spectrum that is the spectrum.
I'll give the film a chance, and I'll view it when it becomes available. In the meantime, I'll continue to follow the adventures of Charlie and his family as they experience the stress, the hope, the determination and, most of all, the love that is Autismland.