25 September 2010 | WeatherViolet
Misguided Screenstory Misses its Mark
At least one organization consisting of parents of special needs children, who (the parents) had been spearheading programs, activities and educational events for many years, had been anticipating watching this production under the notion that "finally, our experiences will be told."
Well, on the evening of November 04, 1987, the CBS Sunday Night Movie premiers "Kids Like These," to enact the story of a 40-ish couple who decide to welcome a child diagnosed with Down's Syndrome after being advised by medical authorities against carrying the child full term. The mother (Tyne Daly) eventually becomes an activist...but just about everything proceeds very easily for her, (the operative word: easily) and everything which she "touches turns to gold" as it were, culminating with her acceptance speech for receiving her community's "Woman of the Year" award.
And everyone in the audience with any comments about "Kids Like These" would say similar remarks, to the effect of "This movie resembles nothing about anything which parents of special needs children face and endure and struggle to accomplish."
While the premise of this film may begin with honorable intentions, with the message of "keep the baby," it disappoints those whom it purports to honor, parents and caregivers of special needs children, who maintain that the child is, indeed, a blessing and so (parents, guardians and other caregivers) adapt to necessary accommodations to nurture the child and to offer the child a sense of love and community.
But this film follows that often-told Hollywood "Rags to Riches" framework of sorts, with pleasant results occurring very quickly and easily, which may well work in an actress wannabee story or a hackneyed political underdog campaign tale, yet not in the realm of rearing a special needs child because positive consequences of community activism just don't happen all too easily and certainly not overnight.
Still, it has its pluses: familiar co-stars Richard Crenna, Ja'net DuBois and Martin Balsam add their capable draw, and the message that a special needs child is a blessing to welcome and to cherish underlines its plot.
But rearing a special needs child isn't about a glory-seeking, publicity-seeking, award-winning caregiver, yet about the dear innocent individual with unconditional love to offer, and a distinct need for extra caring.