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photo The Spectrum of Autism
By Heidi Rosenthal

Autism is referred to as a spectrum disorder: those affected by it can exhibit a wide range of symptoms and of developmental progress. It is this extreme variability which makes the disorder sometimes difficult to recognize, and may lead to children being misdiagnosed as mentally ill or retarded, when early and appropriate intervention is so crucial to treating children with autism.

In this video, we share in the experiences of several families who have struggled to love and care for children who fall at various points on the spectrum of autism. We learn about the symptoms which first alerted them to the possibility of a developmental disorder in their child, and the challenges they faced in obtaining an accurate diagnosis, and then in securing proper treatment and an educational setting appropriate to their children's needs. We hear as well the perspectives of clinicians and educators who explain the difficulties they face in recognizing autism, and point to some of the common developmental signs which may be early signals of the disorder. These include delays or regression in learning to talk; difficulties in understanding and integrating various forms of sensory stimuli; and failure to develop normal speech, language or early social skills.

Yet the overriding message of this production is that caring and aware parents and professionals can be extraordinarily effective in enabling children with autism to participate in the world around them.

DVD version only has both closed-captions and audio descriptions.

34 minutes
© 2002
Purchase $225.00 DVD
Order No. QA-344
ISBN (DVD) 1-57295-911-8
close captioned

"The information presented is concise, well organized, and serves as a good general introduction to the subject of autism in children. As with most Fanlight Productions titles, The Spectrum of Autism is well edited and reflects good production values. The information is accurate and useful to both health and lay audiences. Recommended." Educational Media Reviews

"Excellent and informative - a short, accurate, well-documented exploration of autism." Science Books & Films

Awards & Conference Screenings
Columbus International Film & Video Festival

Related Films
How I Am: "I'm like a hermit on an island," is the way Patrick describes his life with autism. With the dreams and fears of a teenager, but wisdom beyond his years, Patrick takes us into his emotional world through the words he painstakingly types into his computer.

Don't Give Up: A year in the life of a four-year-old who has autism, focusing on a special therapy program designed to break through Adrian's communications barriers.

Refrigerator Mothers: From the 1950's through the 1970's, autism was widely blamed on cold and rejecting mothers. This film explores the devastating impact of this misdiagnosis through the stories of seven mothers and their children.

Autism: Warming to its Cold Embrace: A personal journey into a child's autism diagnosis with filmmaker Robert Parish.

On the Spectrum: Adults living with Asperger syndrome describe the ways AS has affected their lives, their work and their relationships. They discuss learning to cope with the disorder and the comfort and reinforcement of participating with others "like them" in an Asperger's support group.


Awards & Screenings

Related Films

Web Resources

To rent or purchase this film, please visit the Icarus Films website