Saturday, April 4, 2009

Autistic-Like: Graham's Story



I wanted to give a quick review of a documentary I watched this weekend with my hubby. I had seen a little snip of it on GMA, and I went to the website and watched the trailer (http://www.autisticlike.com/) . Since the trailer made me get teary, I decided to plunk down the money to order the whole thing.

So, I sorta forced my hubby to watch it. Basically, Dan saw the title and said "Jonathan's not autistic, so why are we watching this?". I told him that this family also felt that an autism diagnosis didn't fit their child, and that is why I wanted to watch it. So I turned it on... much to the dismay of my hubby and my son (hubby did dishes while it was on...so you KNOW he was irritated... and Jonathan just wanted to watch cartoons).

As the movie progressed, tho, Dan slowly gravitated to the sofa. The film is from the parents (Erik and Jennie Linthorst) perspective, filled with video taken during the first 3 years of Graham's life. It shows vividly the 'autistic-like' characteristics he displays. It also shows him looking like other children. He had some similarities to Jonathan (motor planning issues) but other differences (more sensory dysfunction, but also better language). What struck me was how similar their story was... looking for answers, therapies, hope... and what happens when they are disappointed or frustrated. The movie at times sounds like a commercial for the Floortime approach (http://www.icdl.com/dirFloortime/overview/index.shtml), which I guess I would call a strike against it EXCEPT that I love the Floortime approach. And to be honest, Dan liked the movie so much that he is actually interested in going to a seminar in Wisconsin on that therapy. It is expensive therapy... well outside of our income... but even if we can incorporate some of the prinicples it may help Jonathan.

Anyway, I would highly recommend this documentary. I actually wish more people would see it... they might get a sense of how confusing and frustrating this world is for 'autistic-like' children and their parents to navigate.

Pia

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