"He knows he used to have autism and that makes him sad."
This statement in the documentary Loving Lampposts has been haunting me. It is among the most tragic sentiments I've ever heard. My heart aches for that child-not because he 'had' autism, but because who he is is seen as shameful. His brother was described as "having some of the same thought processes as autistic children...but if anything, he's gifted."
And attitudes like that, attitudes that autism is a horrorshow and we're all doomed to utter incompetence, is why Loving Lammposts gets happy flappies from me.
This documentary leaps in where angels fear to tread: Todd Drezner interviewed people on all fronts of the autism wars. He talked to Jenny McCarthy. He talked to people selling quack treatments. He talked to cure-oriented parents buying those treatments. He talked to true believers in the vaccine hypothesis. He talked to scientists, experts, and 'experts.' He talked to acceptance-focused parents. And he talked to autistics.
Representing all factions in the often heated discussion about autism is no easy task. How can it be, when one group is convinced another is malignantly misguided, and another is convinced that their opposition wants their kids to fester, and more people are convinced an autistic isn't an autistic if they have an opinion on autism? It's hard enough to wrap your head around the idea-now try presenting all viewpoints in a respectful manner in a fairly short documentary. Yeah, like that's possible.
Except apparently it is, because Loving Lampposts is exactly that. Everyone has their say. Even we have our say, which doesn't happen in the autism world much.
Through interviews, Drezner put human faces to all the views on autism. That's something that gets lost in the heat around autism-that everyone involved is a human. The parents who are frantic to fix their 'broken' kid are human. Those kids? Also human. The parents who are striving not to fix but understand? So human that I wanted to reach out and give some hugs. And their children? And the autistic adults? Three dimensional really real people.
I've been anticipating this documentary since I met the production crew at AutCom in 2007. It was worth the wait-I've been recommending it to everyone who wants to know about the autistic community, the autism communities, and their relationships to each other.
Loving Lampposts is a slice of getting it that exceeded my expectations. A++, would watch again (and again...and again...and again).