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Now that it has sunk in a little

Jen has been insisting that I watch Loving Lampposts for about a month now. It’s no secret that both she and I are obscenely busy but add to that a healthy dose of my own special brand of stubbornness and, well… things that land on my ‘to do’ list take longer than usual to complete.

Sam at swim lessons

I worked diligently Sunday & Monday and set aside just enough time to watch the movie before getting the kids from school.

After watching it I said to myself “How silly! Why did it take me so long to watch this phenomenal documentary?”

Loving Lampposts is a documentary film directed by Todd Drezner and produced by Lauren Silver.

Todd Drezner (who’s also a father of a boy diagnosed with ASD, also named Sam) has presented a thought provoking, personal, and intimate view on Autism. The film takes you from the widespread panic that results from mass media fear mongering to a gentler approach of acceptance and awareness of Autism while introducing the viewer to the concept of neurodiversity.

After taking a day to reflect on this important film, I feel a great deal of gratitude, pride, and relief.

I’m grateful for having a documentary that will help us to educate our friends, family, and community about Autism AND perhaps give them a bit of a glimpse into how we have decided to support our son. Both Jen and I firmly believe that we want Sam to be happy with no expectations of making him ‘just like everyone else’. Our main focus is to help Sam find his ‘voice’, to help him become more independent, and to love him unconditionally.

When Sam paints it becomes a large scale sensory adventure

I was filled with pride as I watched parents tell their stories. These were parents who seem to have adopted the same kind of support, acceptance, love, and patience that is required to raise a child on the spectrum.  They work tirelessly with their children to help them to succeed… It becomes more than a full time job.

It’s really validating to find acceptance through observing the methods that many of these families have used to work with their kids. It was an affirmation for things like:

  • Mimicking Sam (repeating his words, even when they sound like gibberish, sometimes mimicking his jumping, dancing, laughter… it is Sam’s way of engaging with us)
  • Letting Sam play, even in ways that are odd; with his noodles when we have pasta, allowing him to create ‘drawings’ with them, etc.
  • Being patient – sometimes waiting what seems like an eternity.
  • Following his cues; in play, in physical contact
  • Not forcing him to be completely potty trained (I’ll discuss this more in a future post)
  • Not telling Sam to ‘Stop’ when he claps or flaps his arms (though we do ask him to try to use an ‘inside voice’ on occasion; i.e. some restaurants or library situations)

Sam's Dinner Art

There’s many more situations that we’ll undoubtedly share as time goes by.

Last of all… I felt a great deal of relief.

I’m relieved that there is something so thought provoking out there that gives a voice to Autism. It brings attention to the fact that Autism is NOT a terminal ‘disease’. There have been absolutely NO cases where they have been able to show that Autism occurred because of vaccinations. Autism is NOT contagious, it will NOT ‘spread’ from kid to kid. Most diagnosed with Autism will not be in a corner in the fetal position for the remainder of their days (which seems to be the sensational impression that western media is making on the public).

I know that there are people out there who experience daily life the way we do. In many cases, there are people who face challenges that far surpass those that we face. What’s comforting is seeing these folks and hearing that they too feel similar challenges, that they are committed to living life in an unconventional way, and that they passionate about their children receiving the supports they need.

If you have the time to watch Loving Lampposts please do!

 

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March 21, 2012 - 7:05 pm

Monique - I LOVED that documentary! I see so many similarities between autism/aspergers and ADHD/ADD and sensory processing disorders that I kind of hope they are all on the same spectrum…I hope this because it means there’s a bigger bunch of these awesome kids and a bigger support group of parents who are striving to understand how these kids work and more importantly how they can succeed!

May 8, 2012 - 9:16 pm

tara pollard pakosta - cute picture with the paint!
My daughter Savannah was CONSTANTLY painting on her body from ages 2-8, non stop! she loved it! She is 12 and still plays with her food and eats with her hands. my husband gets so frustrated, but she is just very tactile and I have learned to accept that!
tara

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