I wanted to write a post with this title for a long time. The recent dialogue over the Autism Every Day video provides an opportunity.
I made a point of not watching this video when I first read about it in one of Wade’s posts. I figured that I could read a lot of blogs in the 14 minutes it would take me to watch it. Heck, if I wasn’t such a lousy proof reader, I could even write something on my own blog in 14 minutes. I read a few more blogs tonight, including Kristina’s and Susan’s and figured it was time to see what all the fuss is about.
Based on what I read, I expected to see 14 minutes of people talking about suffering and struggling. Because I was looking for the negative, I noticed the mothers that smiled and had positive things to say. And when I heard the more negative emotions, I recognized that I’ve felt all of them at one time or another. Every single one.
I then realized that I wasn’t watching the perspective of the parents. I was watching the perspective the editor of the video. The one that chose which ‘sound bites’ to include and which ones to leave out. Recognizing how much work goes into professionally editing and producing a movie such as this, I know that we have seen very little of what what these families experience on a daily basis. I’m sure they feel a spectrum of emotions, and we’ve only seen a few glimpses.
I keep very low expectations for any type of media coverage on autism. It’s not that I expect the coverage to be bad, but rather that I expect it to cover only a very small part of everthing that I’ve come to know as autism. How much can really be said about autism in 14 minutes? Not much. Even less when you consider that your audience includes people that know very little about autism and that you must include interesting and engaging settings, custom graphics, etc. If this video was the only current dialogue on autism, I’d be concerned. It’s not. It’s part of the story, but its not the story.