Autism Every Day
|Autism Every Day|
|Directed by||Lauren Thierry|
|Produced by||Eric SolomonLauren Thierry|
|Music by||APM Music|
|Cinematography||Francisco AliwalasChris Meagher|
|Edited by||Brian DileoChristine Dupree|
|13 minutes (2006 debut)46 minutes (Sundance version)|
Autism Every Day is a 2006 documentary film sponsored by Autism Speaks, and produced by Lauren Thierry, Jim Watkins and Eric Solomon. It follows mothers with autistic children and consists mainly of interviews with the mothers.
A 13-minute version of Autism Every Day debuted at a fundraiser named “A New Decade for Autism” in New York City on May 9, 2006, and made its mainstream debut on Don Imus show on MSNBC the following day. It was selected by the Sundance Institute as a special screening film at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. A 7-minute version of the film can be found on Autism Speaks’ YouTube Channel.
The New York Observer said the film was a
short documentary film … about the lives of mothers of autistic kids. The film consists mainly of interviews with mothers (and scenes of them with their autistic children), mothers whose lives have been utterly transformed. The situation of these mothers is just unrelieved, unrelenting.
According to Stuart Murray, author of Representing Autism: Culture, Narrative, Fascination, disability rights advocates criticized the film for categorizing the disorder as “one of problems and difficulties, especially for parents”, while ignoring the positive aspects.
Criticism and controversy
One interview in the film that drew significant controversy was that of Alison Tepper Singer, who contemplated driving off a bridge with her autistic daughter Jodie Singer. She then said that the only reason she didn’t was because she had a neurotypical (non-autistic) daughter at home. The interview was conducted in front of her autistic daughter, without any apparent regard for the fact that her daughter could understand everything she was saying. Some have drawn a connection between Alison and Karen McCarron, a woman who murdered her autistic daughter on May 13, 2006, 4 days after the film’s debut. Additionally, in the most ironic part of this interview, when Jodie puts her arms around her mother and says, “I love you, Mommy,” Alison Singer pushes her away because she is too ‘busy’ talking about how her daughter “doesn’t love [her].”
Both the film and Autism Speaks have received heavy criticism from autistic people and groups advocating for autistics,with complaints about the film including that it focuses more on the bigoted parents than the actual lives of autistic children themselves, as well as that it portrays autistic people as tragic burdens than as actual human beings who happen to be autistic – which most of them do not want to be “cured” of or see it as a bad thing. It is also criticized for the fact that many of these interviews – most of which are about the things the parents can’t do and how horrible it is to have a child with autism – are conducted with said child in the room, again without any regard for the fact that their children can hear and understand the parents talking about how horrible it is to have to take care of them. This is especially focused on with the aforementioned case of Alison Singer.
Source: Autism Every Day – Wikipedia