Loving Lampposts is film which gives an encompassing view of autism. The film looks at the differing viewpoints on what it means to be autistic, in a frank and open manner. The filmmaker, Todd Drezner, is the father of an autistic child himself, so this film is not just a project for him, but also a quest for answers.
There are two seemingly very different viewpoints on autism. The medical community and much of the general public see autism as a sickness, which must be fought and cured. There is also a ‘neurodiversity’ movement, which proclaims autism is just a variation of the human brain, and should be accepted as such. To them it is disrespectful to say autistic people should be cured.
Loving Lampposts presents the differing viewpoints from, parents of autistic children, the medical community and most importantly autistic adults. From parents, there are discussions on how they have fought or come to accept autism. Some children have indeed lost their autism diagnosis, others have not. Among the parents who have accepted that autism is the way their children are, they are still endeavoring to help their kids be the most they can be. It is just their viewpoint which has changed. The medical community takes a disease curing approach to autism. Theorizing that if the underlying causes of the condition can be cured, the person will become “normal”.
Of the most interest to myself, and I would think most people who have a loved one with autism, were the interviews with autistic adults. Many are proponents of the ‘neurodiversity’ movement. They do not want to be treated as if they are damaged and sick. They just want to be accepted as who they are.
I found Loving Lampposts to be a very thoughtful presentation. As the mother of an autistic child, I sometimes feel a bit pulled between the cure vs. accept models. As my daughter is still rather young, I am focusing more on treatments that would be considered more in the “cure” camp, but for me the emphasis is more on helping her gain skills that will make her future life easier and more fulfilling. Would I like her to lose her diagnosis, yes, but first and foremost I want her to be what makes her happy. I guess that sort of puts me somewhere between these two camps.
Loving Lampposts came out on DVD March 29th. It is now available for rent or purchase. If you are the parent of an autistic child, an educator, or just someone who wants to better understand the “epidemic” of autism, I highly recommend this movie, from Cinema Libre Studio.
Disclosure: Media copy was provided for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.