Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Autism Puzzle (2005)

"Forty years ago autism was a highly obscure disorder which was thought to affect only four to five children in every 10,000, but now some British teachers are claiming to see it in one in every 86 children. What's happened? Is there an epidemic of autism, and what's causing it? Is there any connection to MMR? Or is it that awareness has grown and the definition of autism changed over the 60 years since the term was first coined?

Filmmaker Saskia Baron has unique insights into autism. Her older brother, Timothy, is profoundly autistic. When he was diagnosed in 1961, his parents found that there was no education available for children with autism their fate was mental handicap hospitals and sedation.

Unwilling to accept such a prospect, Timothy's parents got together with other families with autistic children and started the National Autistic Society in 1962. Together, the parents established the first school in the world for autistic children in 1965. Using a recently rediscovered film of that school, the documentary explores how life turned out for the first generation of children to be diagnosed with autism in Britain. What hope do their life stories give the parents of autistic children today?

The documentary looks at the history of the condition, and current research into cause, treatment and prevalence. It includes interviews with some of the world's leading experts on autism, including Dr Lorna Wing, Professor Christopher Gillberg, Professor Fred Volkmar and Professor Anthony Bailey.

The film also explores the latest experimental research into the autistic brain in Finland, England and America which give new hope for greater understanding of this mysterious disability using cutting-edge technology."


PASS : docs4you.org


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