Distributor:  The Fanlight Collection
Length:  34 minutes
Date:  2002
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English
Grade level: College/Adult/Professional
Color/BW:  Color
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The Spectrum of Autism

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The experiences of several families who have struggled to love and care for children who fall at various points on the spectrum of autism.

The Spectrum of Autism

Autism is referred to as a spectrum disorder: those affected by it can exhibit a wide range of symptoms and of developmental progress. It is this extreme variability which makes the disorder sometimes difficult to recognize, and may lead to children being misdiagnosed as mentally ill or retarded, when early and appropriate intervention is so crucial to treating children with autism.

In this video, we share in the experiences of several families who have struggled to love and care for children who fall at various points on the spectrum of autism. We learn about the symptoms which first alerted them to the possibility of a developmental disorder in their child, and the challenges they faced in obtaining an accurate diagnosis, and then in securing proper treatment and an educational setting appropriate to their children's needs. We hear as well the perspectives of clinicians and educators who explain the difficulties they face in recognizing autism, and point to some of the common developmental signs which may be early signals of the disorder. These include delays or regression in learning to talk; difficulties in understanding and integrating various forms of sensory stimuli; and failure to develop normal speech, language or early social skills.

Yet the overriding message of this production is that caring and aware parents and professionals can be extraordinarily effective in enabling children with autism to participate in the world around them.

'The information presented is concise, well organized, and serves as a good general introduction to the subject of autism in children. As with most Fanlight Productions titles, The Spectrum of Autism is well edited and reflects good production values. The information is accurate and useful to both health and lay audiences. Recommended.' -Educational Media Reviews

'Excellent and informative - a short, accurate, well-documented exploration of autism.' -Science Books and Films


** Columbus International Film and Video Festival


Main credits

Hed, Sharon (narrator)
Rosenthal, Heidi (film director)
Rosenthal, Heidi (film producer)
Rosenthal, Heidi (screenwriter)
Rosenthal, Heidi (editor of moving image work)
Rosenthal, Shane (screenwriter)

Other credits

Cameramen, Tim Wagner, Taj Teffaha, Dan Zimmerman; editor, Heidi Rosenthal; music, Nina Maria.

Distributor credits

Heidi Rosenthal

Heidi Rosenthal

Docuseek2 subjects

Asperger and Autism Spectrum Disorder

Distributor subjects

Developmental Disabilities
Fanlight Collection
Parenting and Childbirth


film; captioned video; documentary; autism; autistic; spectrum disorder; developmental disability; intervention; disability; disabilities; disabled; crippled; handicap; handicapped; challenged; accessible; accessibility; physical rehabilitation; developmental disabilities; ; ; "The Spectrum of Autism"; The Fanlight Collection

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