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photo Positively Autistic
From the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Is autism a disability, a mental disorder, or just a difference? Since the early 90's, an autistic rights movement has challenged accepted views of autism, and worked to change how the world sees people with autism. Meet some of the people at the forefront of this growing movement, and find out what they see as the positive aspects of living with autism.

Amanda is an autism-rights activist who makes videos explaining how she experiences autism — one has been viewed more than 700,000 times on YouTube. “To say that one person’s experiences of life are automatically richer than another’s isn’t something I’d consider accurate. It bothers me to hear autism described as a tragedy. I don’t think that kind of language helps anybody. Pitying someone else is as destructive as self-pity is.”

Ari is the Founding President of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network. “The neurodiversity movement stands for the idea that instead of trying to find a way of making autistic people normal or making people with other forms of neurological difference normal, what we should be doing is addressing the true problems and barriers that exist in our lives. People should not simply be written off because they have a different way of thinking.

Estee is the mother of six-year-old Adam, who has autism. She is the founder and Executive Director of the Autism Acceptance Project. “Normalization to me is a very negative concept, because it puts the onus on the disabled person to change rather than rethinking the way society looks at disability. That’s my stance: I believe that for Adam’s sake and his future I would want somebody to stand beside him and support him and say ‘You do have a voice’.”

21 minutes
© 2008
Purchase $175.00 DVD
Order No. QA-519
ISBN (DVD) 1-57295-519-8
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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.

Boy In The World: Following four-year-old Ronen, a young boy with Down syndrome, this intimate documentary concretely demonstrates that inclusive preschool classrooms benefit both children with special needs and their typical peers. It examines the nuts and bolts of successful inclusion as well as the challenges of educational practices that help all children to learn — and to find their place in the world.

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.

Two Worlds — One Planet: This documentary brings Autism syndrome out of the shadows, stressing that young people with developmental disabilities can learn and grow, if their individual needs, styles, and abilities are respected. It takes an upbeat look at students attending a private day school.


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