Fortunately, Autism: The Musical is available online and I just finished watching the ninety-three minute long documentary.
Inspired by her work with her own autistic son, Elaine Hall decided to create a musical theater program that allows autistic children to express themselves creatively and interact socially. The result was the Miracle Project. Countering the bleak statistics regarding autism (one out of 150 children are diagnosed in the U.S.), the California woman pledged to lead a group of autistic kids in defying expectations by writing, rehearsing and performing their own full-length musical. This film follows five Los Angeles children and their families over the course of six months and observes how this musical production gives these young performers a comfort zone in which they can explore their creative sides.Meet Lexi, Neal, Wyatt, Adam and Henry and learn about autism from their perspective as well as from their parents' viewpoints. It is a compelling, beautiful, inspirational documentary crafted with compassion.
Warning: The film includes a disturbing scene where two parents interview an advocate/lawyer. He calmly tell them that he bills at $420/hr for their due process rights in fighting placement for their son in school. $420 per hour - that is $7.00/minute! In my mind, this is criminal behavior - taking advantage of parents when they want the best for children with disabilities. (A post for another day). He also tells them that according to the test results, their son is functioning at a very low cognitive level. Meanwhile, this young boy offers an insightful perspective about autism and offers a reasonable solution to his peers when balloons are brought to the studio. When the balloons pop, it is upsetting to some of the children. He tells the kids to "pop them at home." A helpful solution! Test results obviously do not reveal this boy's true capabilities and skills.
If you have HBO, this show will be aired during this next month. Otherwise, watch it online. It is MUST SEE TV.