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Finding the Words

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School Bd/College/University DVD: $150


Grade Level: SrH-Adult
Producer: Video Project
Closed Captioned: No
Running Time: 60 mins
Country of Origin: United States
Study Guide: No

Copyright Date: 2007
Available in French: No

Finding the Words is a film following the stories of eight children in their struggle to recover from autistic spectrum disorder (ASD).

Autism, historically defined as a neurological condition that impairs communication and socialization skills in varying degrees of severity, is stealing away children in frightening numbers. An estimated 1 in 150 children are being diagnosed with this serious medical condition that the American Academy of Pediatrics now considers “epidemic”. In Finding the Words, we watch parents of children once considered hopeless describe the amazing journeys they've taken to bring their sons and daughters back - fighting the prevailing view of autism as a disorder that is “incurable and untreatable”; battling the effects of what they describe as a “complex, multifactorial illness”.

What is most important is that many thousands of them are winning this war. And children who could not speak, who could not make eye contact, who spinned and flapped and looked so utterly lost and unreachable, are now cogent and happy and communicable. And in a crowd of regular kids in a regular school, they look like every other kid - talking, playing - “indistinguishable from peers”.

The film also captures the unfolding drama of scientific discovery as doctors, pushed along by relentless parents, search for answers. The synergy we see between these determined families and the doctors who have been called to lead this struggle to uncover better therapies for ASD is fascinating. We see a paradigm shift in the doctor/patient model, and a great example of how treatments can be discovered in the presence of urgent need.