"GENERATION A : Autism and the Arts" is a documentary about youths on the autism spectrum; and how creative therapies and arts programs, which stimulate different parts of the brain, help these young people reach their highest potential.
Our perspective is that autism can be viewed not only as a disability but also as a gift. Through these gifts, individuals are able to make pathways into their communities. Our goal is to help families with children on the spectrum and the public-in-general envision a better quality of life for individuals with autism. To date, we’ve shot over 50 hours of footage including scenes with Temple Grandin, an autism world-renowned role model and the subject of the award-winning HBO movie. Our goal is to raise $15,000 to complete post-production for a half-hour version of the documentary. If through your generosity, we raise additional funds, we could shoot a few more days that would add to the depth of our material, include more music and possibly extend the overall length, so the film can be distributed more widely. Thank you for watching our video and for your consideration of this project.
Logline: Autism: Disability or Gift? How youths with autism are using the arts and creative therapies to reach their highest potential by stimulating different parts of the brain. Featuring role model, Temple Grandin.
GENERATION “A” is a documentary about the autism epidemic which is sweeping the globe, and the fundamental right of people on the autism spectrum to be accepted by society-at-large without discrimination. It’s about designing strategies and creating opportunities for this growing population that promote happy, productive, and fulfilling lives. In 1989, one in ten thousand babies were born with autism, today the statistic is one in ninety-one (American Academy Pediatrics Report, 2009). In GENERATION “A” Elaine Hall tells us that autism is "a way of looking at life through a different lens.” Our film shines a spotlight on innovative behavioral and creative therapies which are enabling young people on the spectrum to be the best that they can be, and for families and educators to embrace full inclusion; a sharp contrast to the historical practices of segregation and institutionalization.
Through five compelling portraits of youths with autism, the movie celebrates their unique strengths, countering the attitude of "doom and gloom" and the fear that so many families feel when they are first confronted by the diagnosis. Our film instead, focuses on the “can do,” and how creative therapies encourage meaningful connections that arise through imagination, patience, love and acceptance.
Audiences are led through the film by the internationally-renown Dr. Temple Grandin (Professor at the Colorado State University, best-selling author, and the subject of the recent award-winning HBO movie) and Dr. Stephen Shore (Professor of Special Education at Adelphi University in N.Y. whose expertise is the therapeutic aspects of music and movement on autism.) They are both highly evolved individuals who, as children, were themselves diagnosed with autism. They are wonderful role models who defied the low expectations placed on them at an early age by “professionals” (during the 50s). In both cases, their parents chose to ignore the recommendation to institutionalize, and instead searched successfully for more creative and humane solutions such as those presented in the film.
The film will serve as a source of inspiration for communities, families and children affected by the worldwide epidemic; as well as teachers, educators, and therapists working in the field. Ultimately, our goal is to bring awareness to a human rights issue – the pressing need to improve the quality of life and care for individuals on the autism spectrum. The documentary illustrates that children diagnosed with the disability have the potential to grow into self-reliant members of society, and even well-respected leaders in the arts and sciences. The film is designed as an antidote to the pervasive culture that paints autism as an incapacitating disability. It’s fascinating and encouraging to see how art-making builds confidence in all individuals, and how the art programs depicted in the film bring out the very best in people with autism. To quote Temple Grandin in the film, “Art saved my life!” This is particularly poignant at a time when our public schools are cutting back on arts programs.
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