28 February 1999 | HGH-3
Truthful autistic behaviour in a truthful movie
Jeff, who is an autistic seven year old, gets placed in a special school. Since he doesn't speak, his teacher wants to teach him how to write, by using a computer. She succeeds and he suddenly got a way to communicate. One day he reveals that he has been sexually abused by one of his guardians at the school. Is he a reliable witness in court? His only way of communicating is by the computer. Will the jury belive an autistic boy of seven?
This film is based on a true story and the way the autistic kid is depicted is far better than in most films. His tics and other disturbing behaviours is really believable. I should know. I have an autistic daughter myself.
To teach an autistic how to use a written instead of a spoken is a matter of some controversy in the film. Can they really learn? Yes They Can! My daughter can, and she is only three years old! She also uses sign-language and a few words. But she can't really speak.
The film is surprisingly to the point. It rarely falls into the trap of being over-philosophical, which is quite usual when it comes to TV-productions. If you are the least bit interested in autistic behaviour and want to see one way of helping one out of his isolation, this is a good movie. But remember: all autistic children don't behave the same way. And all of them don't respond to the same learning-methods. Autistics are individuals just as you or me.