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Talk To Me

27 min / documentary / 2003 / USA

filmmaker: Vanessa Kaneshiro

 

This documentary takes viewers into the lives of children with autism at home and at school, and profiles the efforts of their parents and teachers to help them achieve their potential. The families we meet are of different racial and socio-economic backgrounds struggling to obtain appropriate services for their children.

Public school systems throughout the U.S. are experiencing a rapid rise in the number of children with autism in mainstream and special classrooms. In California, where the Department of Developmental Services has reported a nearly 100 percent rise in cases of autism since 1999, studies have shown that these increases are not related merely to changes in diagnostic criteria.

Seven-year-olds Adre and Emma, and five-year-old Julian, are in the Autism Program of the Oakland, California, public schools. This engaging documentary takes viewers into their lives at home and at school, and profiles the valiant efforts of their parents and teachers to help them reach their maximum potential.

Whatever their incomes, these families struggle to obtain appropriate services for their children, and the film shows realistically that such resources are not always distributed fairly. Emma’s parents have enrolled her in an at-home program, while Adre’s single mother, who could certainly use such a program, isn’t even aware that they exist. 

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