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photo Don't Give Up
By Jan Nowina-Zarzycki

This penetrating documentary chronicles a year in the life of Adrian, a four-year-old who has autism. Focusing primarily on his experiences in a special therapy program, the film gives viewers an exceptional opportunity to experience the day-to-day struggles of his father and his special needs teachers and caregivers to break through the communication barriers that keep Adrian from relating to others.

In the spectrum of autism and related disorders, Adrian would probably be considered "high functioning." He makes eye contact and seems to show some interest in what others are doing. He is also extremely attached to his father. Yet at the age of four he does not talk or relate to other children, and has endless, almost inconsolable tantrums.

Twice a week Adrian's father, Perri, drives him 150 miles from their home to the SCEP Center. SCEP (Socialization, Communication & Education Program) is a therapeutic program based on a combination of linguistic and psychoanalytic theories developed by Dr. Elisabeth Brandt. Dr. Brandt provides commentary on the changes we see in Adrian during the two years he is in the program.

This film is realistic about the high financial and emotional costs to the parents and to their other children. Forced to be away from his work for two days out of the week, Perri has had to cut back his business, and his wife has had to reduce her teaching hours. Perri feels they have sometimes neglected the other children. Yet the overall mood of the film is optimistic. By the end, at the age of six and a half, Adrian has made a great deal of progress both socially and cognitively and, although he will need fulltime assistance, is ready to begin attending public school.

58 minutes
© 1999
Purchase $229.00 DVD
Order No. QA-371
ISBN (DVD) 1-57295-920-7
close captioned

"Highly recommended! A wonderful choice for in-service professional training and academic libraries with teacher education programs, and a welcome, valuable resource for public libraries and curriculum centers." Educational Media Reviews

Awards & Conference Screenings
Columbus International Film Festival
Ajijic Film Festival, Mexico
Picture This Festival, Calgary

Related Films
The Spectrum of Autism: Children with autism may display a wide range of symptoms. In this video, we share in the experiences of several families and professionals who care for children at different points on the spectrum of autism.

Refrigerator Mothers: From the 1950's through the 1970's, autism was widely blamed on cold and rejecting mothers. This film explores the devastating impact of this misdiagnosis through the stories of seven mothers and their children.

When Parents Can't Fix It: Looks at the stresses and rewards in the lives of five families who are raising children with disabilities. A realistic look at different family strengths and coping styles.

In Our Midst: Neonatal intensive care units save thousands of infant lives each year. This film profiles a family whose children are all "graduates" of the NICU, and explores the impact of medical technology on their lives.


Awards & Screenings

Related Films

Web Resources

To rent or purchase this film, please visit the Icarus Films website