Sold-Out Screening of Autism Every Day at the Nantucket Film Festival
Autism Every Day, the documentary film produced by Autism Speaks and directed by Lauren Thierry, played to a sold-out crowd at the Nantucket Film Festival on June 14, 2007.
Festival director Jill Burkhart, who first viewed Autism Every Day at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, proclaimed the film to be one of the most important works in the Nantucket Film Festival’s program.
Additionally, for the second year in a row, Autism Speaks’ Ad Council public service announcements are being screened prior to all 50 films in the festival’s line-up. The Nantucket Film Festival runs through Sunday, June 17. Visitthe festival website.
Read an article from the Nantucket Inquirer.
Autism Every Day” screening at Film Fest
By Joshua Balling
I&M Managing Editor
Suzanne Wright couldn’t sit idly by and watch her grandson Christian suffer the effects of regressive autism.
She decided to do something, and two years after founding Autism Speaks, her voice – and the voices of thousands of other families coping with autism every day – are finally being heard.
Nowhere will they be heard more loudly than on-island his week. “Autism Every Day,” the 44-minute documentary she and her husband Bob, the former chief executive officer of NBC Universal, financed and produced, will air twice at the Nantucket Film Festival, today at 5 p.m. and Saturday at 9:30 a.m., both at Bennett Hall.
“This is exactly what we’ve been doing for the last two years, raising awareness,” Wright said yesterday from New York before making the trip to the island.
“Awareness is crucial.I was shocked when Christian was diagnosed. I had no idea there were so many people dealing with this. Where was the media? Where were the people in the trenches? They were in the trenches. They were busted, broke. Taking care of a child with autism is a 24/7 job. It’s up to us to get out there for all the children and families suffering.”
Autism is a neuro-biological developmental disorder characterized by impaired communication, severe deficits in social interaction and emotional detachment.
Since starting Autism Speaks, Wright has been a tireless advocate for autism research and awareness, lobbying for the passage of the Combating Autism Act, which President Bush signed into law last year, and which appropriates $1 billion for autism research over five years. The organization has also merged with the National Alliance for Autism Research to fund biomedical research to combat the disorder.
Part of Autism Speaks’ effort to raise awareness includes a three-year Ad Council public service advertising campaign, the first public service announcement of which aired at the Nantucket Film Festival last year.
“We need the public to understand the struggles of these families. My first impression was of ‘Rain Man’,” Wright said. “But that’s just a small part of it. Autism is an enormous problem in this country and around the world. The costs are prohibitive, and they’re not covered by insurance. It’s just a travesty.”
Wright is also helping organize an autism walk on Nantucket, which is currently scheduled for Aug. 25, starting at Jetties Beach.
Wright’s grandson Christian, who will turn 6 in August, was diagnosed with autism in 2004. Shortly before the disorder was detected, he was developing normally – he knew about 800 words and was potty-trained – but then his speech quickly regressed and he returned to diapers.
Today, he receives extensive therapy and attends a specialized school that caters to the needs of autistic children. It’s tuition is in the neighborhood of $100,000 a year, not unusual for schools of its kind.
“I was just with him last night. He’s doing so much better,” Wright said. “He’s a happy little boy, but he struggles so hard. I’m so proud of him.”
As for “Autism Every Day,” Wright and her husband financed the conversion of a 13-minute short film by Lauren Thierry into the 44-minute version that will air at the festival.
It offers viewers a sometimes harrowing look at the lives of eight families struggling to raise children with autism, a disorder for which there is currently no cure.
The film screened at the Sundance Film Festival to sold-out theaters, and Wright said her goal is to ultimately see it air on television. It is also available to teachers and school systems nationwide free of charge. It’s already been shown in Los Angeles classrooms.
“I hope it eventually gets on commercial TV,” she said. “I hope everybody in the country sees it. You don’t leave it without a tear in your eye. Finally, autism is speaking, and the world is listening.”
“Autism Speaks” will be screened today at 5 p.m. today and 9:30 a.m. Saturday, both at Bennett Hall, 62 Centre St.
Autistic people have fought the inclusion of ABA in therapy for us since before Autism Speaks, and other non-Autistic-led autism organizations, started lobbying legislation to get it covered by insurances and Medicaid.
ABA is a myth originally sold to parents that it would keep their Autistic child out of an institution. Today, parents are told that with early intervention therapy their child will either be less Autistic or no longer Autistic by elementary school, and can be mainstreamed in typical education classes. ABA is very expensive to pay out of pocket. Essentially, Autism Speaks has justified the big price tag up front will offset the overall burden on resources for an Autistic’s lifetime. The recommendation for this therapy is 40 hours a week for children and toddlers.
The original study that showed the success rate of ABA to be at 50% has never been replicated. In fact, the study of ABA by United States Department of Defense was denounced as a failure. Not just once, but multiple times. Simply stated: ABA doesn’t work. In study after repeated study: ABA (conversion therapy) doesn’t work.
What more recent studies do show: Autistics who experienced ABA therapy are at high risk to develop PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions. Historically, the autism organizations promoting ABA as a cure or solution have silenced Autistic advocates’ opposition. ABA is also known as gay conversion therapy.
The ‘cure’ for Autistics not born yet is the prevention of birth.
The ‘cure’ is a choice to terminate a pregnancy based on ‘autism risk.’ The cure is abortion. This is the same ‘cure’ society has for Down Syndrome.
This is eugenics 2021. Instead of killing Autistics and disabled children in gas chambers or ‘mercy killings’ like in Aktion T4, it’ll happen at the doctor’s office, quietly, one Autistic baby at a time. Different approaches yes, but still eugenics and the extinction of an entire minority group of people.
Fact: You can’t cure Autistics from being Autistic.
Fact: You can’t recover an Autistic from being Autistic.
Fact: You can groom an Autistic to mask and hide their traits. Somewhat. … however, this comes at the expense of the Autistic child, promotes Autistic Burnout (this should not be confused with typical burnout, Autistic Burnout can kill Autistics), and places the Autistic child at high risk for PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions.