‘Wretches and Jabberers’ autism documentary one of the best movies of 2011

A groundbreaking documentary helped debunk myths in 2011 and showed that even – especially – non-verbal people with autism have a lot to say.  On the movie review site www.rottentomatoes.com, 82 percent of reviewers and 91 percent of the pubic liked the movie.

I included an excerpt of my article about the movie in my wrap up of autism articles from 2011 on Examiner.com. Excerpts and the link to the article are below.

‘Wretches and Jabberers’ documentary opens April 1 for Autism Awareness Month

Wretches and Jabberers: And Stories from the Road is a powerful, moving documentary that follows two men with autism as they travel the world, visiting friends with autism and changing attitudes about disabilities along the way.

Many people with autism have extremely limited verbal skills or no speech whatsoever.  It has long been assumed by the general public, and even by many parents, educators, and caretakers that scant speech equals low intelligence.

In Wretches and Jabberers, the movie’s protagonists dispel this myth.  The two men and the four friends they visit show the world that they are in fact exceedingly intelligent, eloquent in their writings, and charmingly funny.  Like Helen Keller before them, the “wretches” in the movie are pioneers, blazing trails for others to follow.  The message of the movie is to show the world that there are others like them who are vastly underestimated and whose potential is untapped.  It is a message of hope.

The central figures in the film are all either non-verbal or possess limited speech, and they also struggle with many of the sensory and motor issues common to others with autism.  What is unique about the stars of this movie, however, is that all of them communicate by typing.  They type on keyboards that speak the words and show the text they type.  The microphone picks up the tapping of the typing, which can be a time consuming process.  But it’s well worth the wait to find out what they say.

In his Wretches and Jabberers blog, Tracy Thresher, one of the stars of the film, exhorts people with autism to keep their heads held high even when they struggle:

“I would like to let everyone know that things do not always meet your expectations. The important thing is to keep plugging along. The world is a tough place and change comes slowly when we are dealing with discrimination that is so entrenched. There are those times when you may struggle and feel down. I know that feeling very well. I have had to push very hard to make change in my life. There have been many heartaches along the way. I have often thought things would remain terrible. The best advice I can give is to keep your chin up and tell everyone your story.”

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