Prior to joining Team Laughing Dog, most team members had very few interactions with those on the Autism Spectrum. During the journey as Team Laughing Dog, the team members have come to understand Autism and Aspergers better because of education and more regular interactions with several autistic children in the Sandpoint community. It’s given the purpose a more personal feel.
But still what does Autism or Aspergers look like? Like most conditions, there are few outward signs. With adults you may notice someone with unusual mannerisms or odd socializing, but little you can concretely describe. With children again you may not see much, perhaps an outburst, but that can happen with any child. Those with Autistics/Asperger traits are also less likely to be in a public place. It’s only with frequent interactions that you will see the patterns that make up the set of autistic traits for that person, but even then without an understanding of the spectrum very little can be pinpointed.
One way to get some sense is to watch one of the many well done movies about Austim and Aspergers.
The most well-known movie made more than twenty years ago is Rain Man starring Dustin Hoffman who plays an autistic man on a cross-country trip of discovery with a new-found brother. On the lighter side is Forrest Gump, and while it’s never obvious whether Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump is autistic, he displays many autistic traits within a compressed timeline of American history. More recently the movie Temple Grandin is the story of Temple Grandin as she grows up as an autistic child and becomes a highly-functioning individual including earning a Ph.D. and becoming a professor. That movie won 7 Emmy’s.
Three movies that perhaps portray a more typical side of Autism and Aspergers are Mozart and the Whale, Adam, and Snow Cake. The first is a movie version of the book of the same tile about two people with Aspergers who start a relationship and the growth and challenges they face. Adam displays the perplexing awkwardness that is a frequent view of those interacting with someone like the character Adam in the movie. Thankfully the movie includes many scenes where Adam explains his thoughts and actions, which helps with an understanding of Aspergers. Finally, Snow Cake features Sigourney Weaver as an autistic adult who while still independent has a very different life than Adam.
These primarily feature adults, but there are other movies including children as well. These websites list other movies about Autism and Aspergers:
After watching several of these movies you may still wonder what Autism and Aspergers looks like. There is the high-functioning and intelligent Temple Grandin; the portrayal of a savant in Rain Man; the odd mannerisms of Adam, and in Snow Cake the portrayal of someone who doesn’t seem quite in this world.
They are all accurate and realistic portrayals. That’s because Autism and Aspergers are a spectrum – a variety of conditions and symptoms that manifest to different degrees in different people. There is no single characteristic which also highlights the challenges of identifying and helping those on the Autistic Spectrum.
Hopefully you can enjoy several of these movies and learn a little more about a condition that is becoming increasingly prevalent and a major motivator for Team Laughing Dog.
Powered by Facebook Comments