I have become one of those parents who are trying to change the world to a more understanding place because of my son. For those parents of children with autism around the world, I have also taken up arms and I’m willing to lead the fight against the insensitivity of the neurotypical homo sapiens (now to be known as homo neurotypicus. Ed).
But before I start getting all Che Guevara, I’d like to explain what it is like raising a neurodiverse child by using film pitching. Among my many hats, I am a media teacher and I think this pitch will help where other avenues of raising awareness have failed (plus it’s fun. Ed). Please imagine the rest of this being read by Don LeFontaine (Google will be your friend here. Ed)
“Imagine a world, far far away and centuries in the past. A child is born with amazing gifts, a mutation caused by a shark in the gene pool. This child hears and sees this world in unimaginable ways, senses it so differently that it hurts.
He is born with the ancient tongue of his ancestors, unable to speak any language known to this far away world. A language so simple that it is too complex for normal beings to understand. It sounds like nonsense to everyone, but is intelligible to those that learn to listen.
The boy’s parents are initially shocked by their mutant son, but discover that this world coexists with the world of the boy’s ancestors. He interacts with his ancestral world while navigating this one, so that his language and actions seem bizzare to the aliens he lives among. He is alien in human form, due to live a life as an outcast, not being able to comprehend the nonsensical lies and contradictions that this world uses for language. He is unable to understand this world. This world is unable to understand him. This is where the adventure begins…”
Kinda sounds like a Superman remake, right? I’m not going to explain the fast, slam edits of the trailer, but throw in so dramatic heroic music and the eerie, mysterious backdrops of a grey veiled world and I think you get the idea.
So the fine details of the plot are simple. Early on we focus on the parents and how they come to terms with having a superhuman child in the house. We believe it would be interesting for the audience to get a peek at the difficulties the parents face trying to communicate with a child whose world is incomprehensible to them. You’ll especially love the scenes about potty training and the slapping of strangers that think it’s OK to get all up in his face because he’s so damn cute. (just to add some humour. Ed). You get to witness the pain and heartache of loving a child who is distant and who will literally fight you to get out of a hug.
Then the child gets to an age when the parents can explain he is a metahuman (sorry, can’t decide on Marvel’s mutant superhuman thing of DC’s metahuman shtick. I’ll leave it for the producers and director to decide. Ed). The boy then realises that about 1% of the population has his same mutant DNA and he leads the other mutants to take over the world, thus ending the reign of homo-neurotypicus. So then we move on to the struggle for equality, which inevitably fails, ending in a revolution that threatens to destroy all of humanity.
Would you pay admission and for overpriced stale popcorn to watch this movie? (or are you on of those people that watch very bad copies of movies you download from torrent sites? Ed)
It does sound like a bit like most of the sci-fi dross churned out over the past decade, especially the mutant uprising bit, but the rest is kinda what it feels like living with a child with autism. It’s not as cataclysmic as it sounds, but for parents of a child with autism this is what their fight for equality for their child might feel like. It is certainly how mine feels, that I will need to burn the world to the ground in order to rebuild a world that understands my son (smacks a little of terrorism, but the revolution I’m planning is fought mainly in education, legislation and with the large corporations whose CSR is geared toward painting fences in primary school playgrounds and not so much on real social change. Ed)
So when I rant about autism, it’s not because of the talented teenagers I work with who can’t get a job, or my 4 year old boy whose future I am worried about. I rant because nothing is changing. And I will keep ranting until it does.