About "Making Our Way: Autism"
Making Our Way: Autism is a new documentary produced by MPBN that seeks to demystify autism, which is diagnosed in about one in every 110 children in America*. Rather than focus on the limitations autism places on those who suffer from it, the program examines the broad spectrum of their experiences and looks at how many diagnosed with it have gone on to achieve great success. Viewers also learn about autism research that is being conducted right here in Maine.
Featuring prominently in this hour-long program is Dr. Temple Grandin, who is to autism sufferers what Michael J. Fox is to those battling Parkinson’s: an inspiration (in Grandin’s case, as a PhD and an animal welfare advocate) and someone who has achieved enormous success despite the hurdles imposed by her condition. MPBN interviewed her in Vicksburg, Mississipi and followed her for a day in Fort Collins, Colorado, where she’s a professor at Colorado State University.
And here in Maine, viewers meet the Whitehouse family of East Millinocket, where 9-year old Jacob functions with autism and who sees the world from a perspective few can fully understand.
“He’s not a label. He’s not the set of circumstances that you think he is,” says his father, Ryan, while his mother, Beth, adds, “and with all the challenges and barriers and things that he has, he’s really an amazing kid under all that.”
There’s also a profile of Maine’s Deb Lipsky, diagnosed in 2005 with high functioning autism. Deb lived in relative seclusion in northern Maine for 18 years before the diagnosis. She has since authored two books on autism and speaks to audiences around the country on the subject.
Scientific perspective on the search for a cure is provided by Dr. Zhong-wei Zhang, a neurophysiologist at Bar Harbor’s Jackson Laboratory who studies the mechanisms involved in human brain development like those found in Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Making our Way: Autism was produced by MPBN’s Dan Lambert, a Maine native and resident of Cumberland who was been nominated for two Emmy Awards for his most recent MPBN documentaries, Caring for the Caregiver: Alzheimer’s Disease (2009) and Easing the Burden: Parkinson’s Disease (2010). Narration is provided by MPBN Radio’s Suzanne Nance.
* Source: U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Major Funding for this program was provided by The Sunshine Lady Foundation, Inc.