Watch Beyond The Spectrum
- 54 min
Beyond the Spectrum is an emotionally stirring documentary film that explores autism, the condition which has been referred to as the invisible affliction. The film takes viewers on a journey into the lives of several families with autistic children as they reveal their joys, struggles, and hopes for the future. The documentary, directed by Steve Suderman and starring Lee Lustig, is a heartfelt and honest depiction of the challenges parents face when raising autistic children. The film highlights the often-misunderstood nature of autism and its pervasive effects on family relationships, daily routines, and social interactions.
The film opens with Lustig explaining his own personal experience with autism and how his perspective changed after years of working at a school for children with special needs. From there, the film introduces viewers to several families and children living with autism.
One family that is highlighted in the film includes a mother and father who have two autistic children. The mother, who is also a teacher, describes how she struggled to understand her children's behavior and eventually sought out professional support for her family. The father, who works long hours, admits that he initially had difficulty accepting his children's diagnosis, but he has since become an advocate for autism awareness and empathizes deeply with other families in similar situations.
Another family follows a young girl who is non-verbal and experiences frequent meltdowns due to sensory stimulation. Despite the challenges, her mother remains hopeful for her daughter's future and emphasizes that while autism may be tough, it does not define her daughter's personality or potential.
The documentary also features interviews with autism experts, educators, and researchers who provide context and insight into the neurological differences of individuals with autism. They note that while every person on the spectrum has their unique traits, there are common patterns of behavior and communication that families need to be familiar with to provide the necessary support and understanding.
Beyond the Spectrum also touches on the impact of social stigma and the struggles for people with autism to be integrated into society. The film features interviews with autistic individuals who shed light on their experiences with bullying, discrimination and isolation.
As the film progresses, viewers are introduced to a range of therapies, treatments, and alternative approaches that have been shown to help individuals with autism to communicate and interact more comfortably. Some of these approaches include mindfulness, sensory integration therapy, and animal therapy, among others.
Along with the difficulties that come with raising autistic children, Beyond the Spectrum also showcases the love, tenderness, and joys that families experience, such as the unique relationships siblings have with their autistic brothers and sisters.
The film ends with Lustig reaffirming the need to shift the current perception of autism from a medical diagnosis to a different kind of brain functioning. He encourages viewers to see that autism is not something to be cured or fixed but embraced and supported.
In summary, Beyond the Spectrum is a powerful and insightful documentary that provides an intimate look into the lives of families with autistic children. It's a poignant reminder that at the core of our needs and aspirations, we all share a common thread of love and belonging, no matter our differences.