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Friday, May 28 • 12:30pm - 1:55pm
Loving Lampposts

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As autism has exploded into the public consciousness over the last 20 years, two very different views of the condition have arisen: is it a devastating sickness to be cured? Or is it a variation of the human brain -- just a different way to be human?After his son's diagnosis, filmmaker Todd Drezner visits the front lines of the autism wars. We meet the 'recovery movement,' which views autism as a tragic epidemic brought on by environmental toxins. We meet the 'neurodiversity' movement, which argues that autism should be accepted and autistic people supported. And we meet a too often ignored group: autistic adults.It's these adults who show just how tricky it is to judge an autistic person's life. Is an autistic woman who directs academic research about autism recovered? What if the same woman has trouble speaking and uses text-to-speech software to communicate? Is an autistic man who lives in his own apartment recovered? What if his mother must hire people to do his laundry and take him out in the evenings?This wide angle view of autism makes clear what's at stake in the autism wars. Will we live in a world dominated by autism conferences where vendors hawk vitamins and hyperbaric chambers to parents desperate for a cure? Or will we provide the support that autistic adults need to lead the best lives they can? And can these two worlds possibly co-exist?

Friday May 28, 2010 12:30pm - 1:55pm
Coco Plum