Sunday, February 7, 2010

Temple Grandin on HBO

I have to say that I think HBO did a phenomenal job with the show on Temple Grandin. I was in tears not only from the perspective of a mother because they lightly touched on that relationship which I know is hugely important to her but also from Temple's point of view. My son also had very big sound sensitivities and the way they protray her focus being on all those sounds in her environment so accurately, it brought me to tears being able to see what my son went through for years. His sensory issues have, for the most part, gone away although he is very distracted by sounds at times. And what can I say about her squeeze machine? She is so amazing and so tenacious in finding the things that help her. It is what we also hope for our kiddos, that they can recognize what they need (deep pressure, quiet, etc) and request it or go to it. My son has been doing a great job with that lately. At his sister's birthday party he went to his room and got into his tent for a little alone time, telling my husband it was too crazy and he needed to chill for a while. Before that would have ended with hours of meltdown. And watching her in her squeeze machine really brought back the memories of "shmooshing" my son on the couch to provide that much needed proprioceptive input. When his sensory system was dysregulated we would lay him on the couch or a bed and shmoosh him with pillows, literally laying our body weight on him, which was disbursed by the pillow. He loved it, you could watch his sensory system calm down, it was amazing. We almost never have to smoosh anymore. We also did the Wilbarger Brushing protocol which was also helpful for sensory issues. But Temple was paving the way years ago, when this disorder was not so well known. She is just amazing, and to get a look at how she sees the world was awesome and humbling. I hope that my son will also be able to tell me how his brain works as he gets older. He is already beginning to. And I look to the future and wonder what occupation he will be tempted by that can utilize his special gifts. Will he be a musician or composer with his gift of musical inclination? Will he be a swimmer given his amazing lung capacity and ability to swim like a fish since he was 3? Or will he be a sound effects master, creating all the sounds of life around us that most of us shrug off and disregard and that he can reproduce because that is how he experiences our world best, through sound? The possibilities are endless. I loved the part where she was reciting a line from a movie over and over and over again. That is something very familiar. It was also so interesting to "see" what her brain was processing when she appeared distracted. It showed me more of how her brain was working and maybe that is how my son's works in a way as well. And no longer should we be saying "find an institution" just because a child has a diagnosis of Autism, like Temple's mother was told. Our world would be a lesser place without her and her gifts. And her presentation at the end of the movie where she is at an Autism conference with her mom and she speaks blew me away. Overall, as a mom of a child with Autism, I really appreciated the way they portrayed her, her journey and loved the emphasis on her relationship with the very special science teacher. I have always known that the right teacher makes ALL the difference for my son (and for any child really). I just hope that in the future there are more of those types of teachers, who can appreciate and validate their gifts and their talents, not ignore them because they don't learn like "everyone else". I really hope they distribute this movie beyond HBO, it was definitely a "must see"!


Matt and Brianna said...

I just have to say "Ditto" to EVERYTHING you said!!! I loved, loved, loved that movie!!!!! Even my husband asked to watch it again! And afterward, he said he couldn't wait till the kids woke up so he could "watch" them. See how they "see" things. I was so thrilled with HBO and Claire Daines!! She was amazing!

We also saw a lot of our son (3 yo) in her. The photographic memory and MASSIVE attention to detail! Jack's teacher told me TODAY "he has a super memory" :) I just said, Ya I know...sometimes it sucks! ;)

I REALLY hope this goes way beyond cable tv and is recommended to those families who are newly diagnosed!!

I am SO grateful for Temple AND her mom!! Could you imagine if she would have put her in an institution, which would have been so easy to do back then?! I, the mom of 2 autistic kids, am SO unbelievably grateful for them!!

Thanks for all your posts!! I always enjoy reading them!!

Matt and Brianna said...

P.S. We were able to meet with Dawn, right before the holidays with our son. She is amazing, and I hope like crazy that we can get him back in with her SOON!!