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Seeing Ourselves

 

Our January 2021 online event was called “Seeing Ourselves” and featured television, movies and books that included characters with developmental disabilities.  In addition, folks with developmental disabilities create art, act and write books and have books written about them.  Check out the video under the past programs tab on this website (at the bottom of that page).  And take a look at our growing list of ways folks with developmental disabilities can see themselves in the world.  We will continue to expand this list.  Suggestions welcome. 

Television Series

                  

Atypical. A television series featuring a teenager on the autism spectrum making his way through high school and college. On Netflix.

 

The Casagrandes.  An animated television series about a multi-generational Mexican American family living under one roof that includes C.J., a kid with down syndrome. On Nickelodeon.

 

Ozark. A drama about a family caught up in money laundering.  Tuck is a character in the series that has down syndrome and the actor has down syndrome in real life,  On Netflix.

 

Movies

 

The Peanut Butter Falcon 

A comedy-drama about friendships, fortitude and the pursuit of dreams. The story follows the adventure of a young man with Down syndrome who dreams of becoming a professional wrestler and attending the wrestling school run by his wrestling idol. He runs away from an assisted living facility and stows away on a small fishing boat. On Hulu.

 

I Am Sam

A drama about a man who is living with an intellectual disability, who is fighting to keep custody of his daughter after they were abandoned by the daughter’s mother. It’s an examination of the social prejudices and stereotypes against people with intellectual disabilities and their abilities and rights as parents. On Netflix

 

Crip Camp : A Disability Revolution

Featuring people with a variety of disabilities, this documentary  

takes a look back at Camp Jened (located in the Catskills in the US), which welcomed people with disabilities in the 1950s, 60s and 70s when many mainstream summer camps did not. The film documents the revolutionary spirit that surrounded the camp, and the complex experiences of many of the campers – many of whom went on to be leaders in the disability rights movement in the United States. On Netflix.

Books

 

Fiction

 

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. 

A novel that tells the story of a young boy with Asperger syndrome who solves a mystery about the death of a dog and reunites with his mother.

 

Sunnyside Plaza by Scott Simon.

This is a story of a household of adults with developmental disabilities who wonder if one of their housemates has died because of something nefarious.

 

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes.

Algernon, a laboratory mouse, undergoes an experimental procedure that causes his intelligence to skyrocket.  Charlie Gordon, a middle-aged man with an intellectual disability, is thrilled to be the first human to have the same surgery. At first, Charlie’s intellectual growth mirrors Algernon’s and reaches beyond genius levels, but eventually, Algernon’s intelligence begins to deteriorate, hinting at ominous results for Charlie. 

Non Fiction

 

Riding the Bus with my Sister by Rachel Simon.

This memoir is about Simon's relationship with her sister Beth, who has an intellectual disability and who spends her days riding the fixed route buses in the city of Reading, Pennsylvania where she lives. Beth also lives independently, has a boyfriend named Jesse, and receives supports from two caring Direct Support Professionals, Vera and Olivia. Rachel is a busy writer and professor who loves her sister, but by the time they are in their late thirties, they've grown apart. When Beth asks Rachel to ride the buses with her for a year, Rachel reluctantly agrees. The book chronicles that year, during which Rachel befriends the bus drivers, Jesse, and Olivia, and learns about such key civil rights issues as self-determination and People-first language.

 

Fully Alive : Discovering What Matters Most by Timothy Shriver.

As chairman of Special Olympics, Timothy Shriver has dedicated his life to the world's most forgotten minority-people with intellectual disabilities. And in a time when we are all more rudderless than ever, when we've lost our sense of what's ultimately important, when we hunger for stability but get only uncertainty, he has looked to them for guidance.

 

Adam: God’s Beloved by Henri Nouwen.

An account of the death of Nouwen’s friend Adam, a severely handicapped young man from the L Arche Daybreak Community. In the story he finds a way to describe his own understanding of the Gospel message. Adam could not speak or even move without assistance. Gripped by frequent seizures, he spent his life in obscurity. And yet, for Nouwen, he became friend, teacher, and guide. 

Kids books

 

My brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peele.

Charlie has autism, there are things he can’t do. But as his big sister tells us, for everything that Charlie can't do well, there are plenty more things that he's good at. 

 

Ian’s Walk : A Story About Autism by Laurie Lears.

Julie can't wait to go to the park and feed the ducks with her big sister, Tara. There's only one problem. Her little brother, Ian, who has autism, wants to go, too. Ian doesn't have the same reactions to all the sights and sounds that his sisters have, and Julie thinks he looks silly. But when he wanders off on his own, she must try to see the world through his eyes in order to find him.

 

My Friend Isabelle by Eliza Woloson.

A heartwarming story of two friends, Charlie and Isabelle, a typical child and a child with Down syndrome. Charlie tells about the things they both like to do together, and also how he and Isabelle are different.