AAM DVD Review and #Giveaway: Loving Lampposts

Loving Lampposts is a documentary that will touch you, teach you and leave you with even more questions about Autism...

From the Producer:

After his son's diagnosis, filmmaker Todd Drezner visits the front lines of the autism wars to learn more about the condition. He interviews parents and experts representing the “recovery movement,” which views autism as a tragic epidemic brought on by environmental toxins such as childhood vaccinations.  Operating outside the boundaries of mainstream medicine, these parents, doctors and therapists search for unconventional treatments that can “reverse” autism and restore their children to normal lives.  He attends the National Autism Association conference, where he speaks with purveyors of “alternative treatments” such as hyperbaric chambers and saunas, believed by many parents to aid in the removal of toxins from their children, and interviews actress Jenny McCarthy, the mother of an autistic child, who has been a spokesperson for Generation Rescue and TACA (Talk About Curing Autism), and other parents who believe they have “cured” their children with alternative treatments. Drezner visits with proponents of the “neurodiversity movement,” those who believe that autism is just another way of being. He interviews experts, parents and most significantly, adults living and functioning with autism.  He interviews Simon Baron-Cohen, the Director of the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University; parents Kristina Chew and Jim Fisher, both professors at the university level; high-functioning adults living with autism, including Sharisa Kochmeister who does not speak but has the IQ of a genius, and Dora Raymaker, an autistic adult who speaks via a computer and is the co-director of the Academic Autistic Spectrum Partnership in Research and Education. He also turns the camera on his own family, including his wife, Erika Drezner, and Sam, sharing their private struggle with the world.  Says Drezner, “In more than three years, since I've immersed myself in the world of autism, the world at large has paid more attention to autism than ever before.  Never has a community been less ready for its cultural moment than the autism community. Indeed, there is disagreement about whether autism is a disease, about how to treat it, about whether it is an epidemic, about whether it can be cured, and even about what it is. Although we can’t claim to have resolved these debates conclusively, we hope that this film will at least help parents and the broader public see the consequences of the relentlessly negative mainstream view of autism and help them understand that acceptance offers a better path.” The title of the film refers to the circuit of lampposts that Drezner’s son likes to visit in Brooklyn, NY’s Prospect Park.

My review:

I really liked that this DVD was fairly comprehensive in showing the diversity of thinking about Autism Spectrum Disorders, its causes, how to approach autism and what having autism means for individuals and their families.  I will  say that Loving Lampposts tends to create more of a rose-colored view of the world of autism than many other documentaries, books and individuals, but this is not necessarily a bad thing.  A criticism that I seem to see in other reviews is that there is little coverage of some of the hard choices and difficult behaviors that are sometimes associated with ASD, but I honestly think that it is a little bit beyond the scope of what this documentary was trying to achieve.  Yes, it's missing, but it wouldn't have added to the story being told of how diverse the explanations and approaches to autism are.  

This DVD will help families gain a broader understanding of how autism can be, and would be great watching for extended family members who may not live with ASD on a day-to-day basis.  I think that, like the Cutting Edge Therapies book that I reviewed, this documentary can be a starting point for discussion and a great resource for anyone who is looking for more information about ASD and related disorders.

Loving Lampposts Trailer from Loving Lampposts on Vimeo.

Where to get:
Loving Lampposts was released on March 29th and is available from Amazon.com and other retail and online locations.  You can also win one of three copies here on Acting Balanced!  This giveaway is for US residents only.

The Giveaway Rules:
Giveaway is open to US Residents only
Mandatory Entry must be completed before other entries count.
Each entry must be made as a SEPARATE COMMENT
Giveaway will end on May 11th, 2011 at 11:59 PM and 
the winner will be chosen by Random.org, announced on Acting Balanced 
and contacted by email.
The winner will have 48 hours to claim their prize.

Mandatory Entry:
Visit Loving Lampposts and tell me why you want to win this product or what you learned from the website
Bonus Entries:

+2 Bonus Entry - Follow Loving Lampposts on Twitter (leave twitter name)

+2 Bonus Entry - Like Loving Lampposts on Facebook 
+1 Bonus Entry - Follow Acting Balanced/Chascouponmom on Twitter (leave twitter name)
+1 Bonus Entry - Follow Acting Balanced on Google Friend Connect
+1 Bonus Entry - Like Acting Balanced on Facebook 
+1 Bonus Entry - Subscribe to Acting Balanced by email (must be completed)
+1 Bonus Entry - Grab my Autism Awareness Month event button and tell me were it is
+1 Bonus Entry - Add this giveaway to any giveaway linky and leave me the blog post's URL (3 maximum)
+3 Bonus Entry - Blog about this giveaway and leave me the link to your post
on your blog
+1 Bonus Entry - Leave a NEW comment on any non-contest post (maximum 2 per day)
+1 tweet this phrase (up to 3x per day, at least 2 hours apart)
"#WIN the @Lovinglampposts DVD from @chascouponmom at Acting Balanced #AUTISM   #giveaway ends 5/11