(Nadine Antonelli, Noah Antonelli, Simon Baron-Cohen, Kristina Chew, Jim Fisher, et al / DVD / NR / 2011 / Cinema Libre Studio)
Overview: As autism has exploded into the public consciousness over the last 20 years, two opposing questions have been asked about the condition fueling the debate: is it a devastating sickness to be cured or is it a variation of the human brain just a different way to be human? LOVING LAMPPOSTS: LIVING AUTISTIC takes a look at two movements: the recovery movement, which views autism as a tragic epidemic brought on by environmental toxins and the neurodiversity movement, which argues that autism should be accepted and that autistic people should be supported.
DVD Verdict: 'Loving Lampposts' has the tagline "If you've met one autistic person, you've met one autistic person" and brings it to life by interviewing many people with autism - in particular, tackling the issue of "high functioning vs. low functioning" in a sensitive and nuanced manner.
The filmmaker sensitively portrays the process of parents coming to terms with their childrens' diagnoses, beginning with his own experience as the parent of an autistic boy. He shies away from easy answers or simple solutions, instead telling the stories of autistic children and adults - and the people who love and care for them - with tenderness and dignity.
I recommend it especially to parents of children who have been recently diagnosed, as well as to anybody who works with people with disabilities.
If you want to help yourself and others better understand autism, watch this film. I think you'll join me in recommending 'Loving Lampposts' to others. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Extended Interviews include: adults living with autism Sharisa Kochmeister and Dora Raymaker; autism experts Simon Baron-Cohen (Dir. of the Autism Research Ctr in Cambridge) and Roy Richard Grinker (Prof. of Anthropolgy at George Washington University), and parents of autistic children Lila Howard and Ralph James Savarese.