April 1, 2011- Director Todd Drezner, in an interview published in today’s Huffington Post, suggests that for this month of April, Autism Awareness month, we do more than just call attention to autism- that we embrace autism for all its worth.
It’s fair to say that we are all “aware” (a term used all too offhandedly these days) of autism, and most of us know at least a few people who have autistic children or know a functioning autistic adult. And in case you haven’t noticed, having a child with autism is not the tragedy that anti-vaccination and pro-eugenics activists make it out to be. Many autistic children amiable, receive plenty of love and attention from their parents, and do reasonably well in school. Not that they have it easy- but neither do all non-autistic children. And there are plenty of functioning autistic individuals who lead happy, meaningful lives.
Take, for example, 12-year-old Jacob Barnett, diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, who made news recently when he developed his own theory of relativism. With an IQ that soars over Einstein‘s, he taught himself calculus, algebra, geometry and trigonometry in one week’s time.
Wouldn’t it be convenient, if all pregnant women carrying a fetus determined to be at high risk for autism, could peek into the womb and see if she’s carrying tomorrow’s autistic, yet highly functioning child prodigy genius?
Wouldn’t we all, for that matter?
But that’s not what Autism Awareness month is supposed to be about, says Todd Drezner, who filmed Loving Lampposts, a film about embracing the affectionate nature of autistic children- a film he was inspired to create after his own son was diagnosed with autism.
Loving Lampposts takes a holistic look at autism, acknowledging the trials faced by autistic individuals and their caretakers, but also shining a light on the many ways autistic children have touched lives through acceptance, bare-boned innocence and kindness of nature.
Truly embracing autism goes beyond tolerance (another term we could live without), it means being able to say to an autistic child or adult, “you are special because of your autism” and meaning it.
Learn more about autistic children at Autism Speaks.