The opening credits of this HBO documentary are troublesome, in 1980 the occurrence of autism was 1 in 10,000, today it is 1 in 150. If this is factual, we have a very large problem on our hands. It is possible that the diagnostics have changed, but it is also a distinct possibility that Autism is becoming more prevalent and missunderstood.

Autistic children, contrary to the common belief are not stupid, they are just different. A totally different set of rules apply.

What is appropriate, and what is not, is a fine line. Einstein, in his ‘Theory of Relativity’ demonstrates this in an easy way. You are on a train that is moving 30mph, you gently toss a ball to your friend at the other end of the cabin, he catches it, and maybe the the ball was traveling at 30mph? But, if you are on the sidewalk watching the train go by, you have seen a ball move at either 60mph or it has been stationary, it all depends on the direction the kids have tossed the ball. Autism is a lot like that, some kids may move fast, and yet seem to go nowhere, some may move slow, and yet get everywhere.

Autism – The Musical explores the lives and times of both children and families. For example, Henry is an 8 year old expert on dinosaurs, but he has little to offer to his peer group as a friend.

Putting on a musical with an autistic cast might seem like Mission Impossible, but Elaine Hall shows us the possibilities. Known as The Miracle Project, Elaine takes some autistic kids and over a 6 month period puts on a musical. Yes, there are huge frustrations, and those frustrations are not just with the children. Family is important, and sadly it often leads to friction in the family, even worse, fracture in the fabric that is the family.

Can Elaine pull it off?

Autism – The Musical airs on HBO Mach 25th at 9pm (ET/PT).

Simon Barrett

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