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.