On the Spectrum
By Nathalie Dziobek-Bepler
"Weird...rude...trouble-makers..." children with Asperger syndrome are often misunderstood and misdiagnosed, and they may be harassed, bullied, or avoided as a result. Adults who are living with Asperger's today are likely to have suffered the same childhood frustrations and anxiety, but they did not have the benefit of a diagnosis to explain their behavior, or the backing of teachers, therapists, and support services that may be available to children with Asperger's today.
Asperger syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder. People with Asperger's do not typically "look disabled." They tend to have normal to high intelligence, but have difficulty perceiving and understanding the facial expressions and social gestures of others, and the "rules" of social interaction. As a result, many adults with Asperger's have learned to avoid social situations that may be difficult for them, which in turn can severely limit their social and professional opportunities.
The four individuals profiled in this unusual documentary describe the ways Asperger syndrome has affected their lives, their work and their relationships. They express the relief they felt when they were finally diagnosed in adulthood, and at last found an explanation for the years of frustration, anxiety and depression they experienced when peers and teachers shunned them for their abnormal behavior. But they also make clear that they have learned to cope with the disorder, even in some cases to find special strengths from it, and have experienced the comfort and reinforcement of participating with others "like them" in an Asperger's support group.
Purchase $229.00 DVD
Order No. QA-457
ISBN (DVD) 1-57295-854-5
Awards & Conference Screenings
Picture This... Disability Film Festival
Western Psyhcological Association
Autism: Warming to its Cold Embrace: A personal journey into a child's autism diagnosis with filmmaker Robert Parish.
The Boy Inside: The distressing story of the filmmaker's son Adam, a 12-year-old with Asperger Syndrome, during a tumultuous year in the life of their family. AS makes Adam's life in seventh grade a minefield, where he finds himself isolated and bullied. As he struggles to find a place for himself, his troubles escalate, both at school and at home.
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.
A Culture Undiscovered: Explores the needs and experiences of college students, from diverse racial and/or ethnic backgrounds, who have learning disabilities.