Wednesday, January 24, 2018

A preview of a new film about people with intellectual disability


What's the most excluded group of Americans, and possibly the most misunderstood? It's the 6.5 million who have intellectual disability. If you're the parent of a child with ID, then you know all too well how much people underestimate our children. I always found this so painful to encounter, as I've written about here.

Filmmaker Dan Habib is hoping to alter perceptions with his new film Intelligent Lives. You may know Dan from the first film he made, Including Samuel; it tracked his and his wife's efforts to include their son, who has cerebral palsy, in school and in all of life. Intelligent Lives follows several young adults with ID who will benefit from what Dan calls an "inclusion revolution." The film, narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Chris Cooper (whose son had cerebral palsy and intellectual disability), also details how people with ID have historically been treated—in short, horrifically. Until relatively recently, the adults in the film likely would have been institutionalized and forcibly sterilized.

There are many minds still to be changed. Samuel is now a senior in high school. While he's thriving and has benefitted from teachers who've had high expectations of him, Dan notes, "When we are out and about in the community, it's still common for people to talk with Samuel like he's a four-year-old, which makes him furious." Dan's goal in creating this film: To reduce the stigma surrounding intellectual disability, and reduce the segregation.

You can read more about the film on the Kickstarter page, where Dan succeeded in raising more than $35,000 to finish production of the film. Intelligent Lives will premiere this spring. Here's a preview, and here's hoping it changes a lot of minds out there.



Photo: Screen grab/Intelligent Lives preview on Vimeo.

6 comments:

  1. Important info here. I'd like to hear more from people with disabilities themselves. Particularly, people of color with disabilities.

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    1. Hi, Tonia. Two of the three adults with ID that Dan follows in the film are people of color, check out his Kickstarter description (scroll down): https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/wcak/intelligent-lives

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  2. It's an honor to be featured in Love That Max once again! I will be sure to keep you and your readers in the loop as we roll out this film. We post updates regularly to our FB page, https://www.facebook.com/intelligentlives/. Thanks again for the wonderful article! Dan Habib, Concord, NH

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    1. I am a teacher in a NY middle school. “Including Samuel” inspires my 6th graders every year when we show it as part of our Walk in My Shoes Day to build awareness and empathy of “differences” It moves me to tears each time I see it. I look forward to your next film.

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  3. Ah, six point five. I thought it was six point four million. And that's more intellectually disabled people in the United States than people who died in the Holocaust. The close figures would provoke many people.

    "Until relatively recently, the adults in the film likely would have been institutionalized and forcibly sterilized." Yes.

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Thanks for sharing!



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