My stalled documentary
Posted by
Hello Here I am again. My older son, Dan Mulvaney, now 23, has severe autism. I have written a lot about this and a while ago began to work informally with film-saavy but very busy friends on a documentary tentatively called "He's Leaving Home" Or "HLH." What we need is funding. And a producer. I am guessing some of you can tell me what else we need It's about Dan's first years in a group home. The home could be a national model for the way to do this right. Dan moved out a year ago and seems to be having a terrific time. He's only twenty minutes away and I see him a lot but miss him terribly. Here is a link to a column the New York Times' Peter Applebome wrote about Dan and the beginning of this process. Autism is now recognized by federal health officials as an epidemic effecting one in 110 children. (The numbers used to be closer to one in 10,000). Many believe environmental toxicity that exacerbates a genetic predisposition is to blame. People with autism often need a lot of support. But the world is not ready for them. In the worst case scenarios - and there are many - their pubescent aggression is made so much by the frustration of not having a life. Meanwhile their parents age and can't take care of them. Recently a professor in Kansas was murdered by her young adult son with autism. My son Dan now has a life! He works at several jobs, goes to dances and kareoke bars and baseball games etc. he plays ice hockey and baseball on teams for individuals with disabilities etc. But there are very few group homes or other good living arrangements like this for young adults with autism, hence the need for this documentary. We have tons of b roll, both from Dan's early years (when he spoke three languages; he is now nonverbal due to autistic regression at 3 1/2) -- and from his graduation from high school, the graduation party which was really a moving out party - and his trip to sleepaway camp. His regular camp but that summer of 2009 he went there knowing that for the first time he would not at the end of the summer be coming "home." We also have lots of access to the group home and to the many people who have taught and supported Dan over the years and who now do the same, including his speech therapist who can after two decades of near silence get some words out of him. . Below are links to a Huffington Post piece I wrote about the group home - and my stuff on him. Sorry about the quality of my flip camera endeavors. When you see them you will see why I need help! The B roll is much better than this; it was shot by a pro Many thanks Barbara