Here is my current autism video queue. This queue should be your queue, too.
The IACC [InterAgency Autism Coordinating Committee] Full Committee Meeting April 11, 2011. This is a long, long video -- but it's broken up into easily-accessed sections if you view the video through the site. My favorite part so far is Lindsey Nebeker's public comments on safety and the need for support for people with autism like her, but especially for people like her younger brother James, who also has autism but whose needs are more "severe," who lives in a group home, and who will become her legal responsibility when her parents pass away.
The MacNeil AutismNow series is this week's most prominent must-see. Though the madness of spring break means I have yet to see them, their viewing is next on my list (after sleeping, helping Leo sleep too, and wishing fervently for our cheerful but unsettled-stomach son to go 24 hours without projectile vomiting).
Distressingly, feedback from trusted sources is not great. Seth Mnookin called the series "An embarrassing, reckless, and irresponsible coda to Robert MacNeil’s career," as MacNeil let his daughter Alison state, on camera, that "Paul Offit and former CDC director Julie Gerberding 'have lost touch with their humanity. ...I don’t know how either of them manage their guilt and complicity in hurting so many babies.'"ASAN, the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, is concerned that MacNeil "Leaves Out Key Stakeholders, Relies on Old Stereotypes." Dr. Vincent Iannelli at About.Com Pediatrics worries that "we don't need another show to falsely increase fears of vaccination."
I suspect that the series is made from the perspective of a worried grandfather with a less-than-deep understanding of and experience with autism, whose emotional investment knocked his reporting gears out of balance. If my parents had made a documentary about autism when Leo was little, it would have had a similar tone -- especially if they had filtered it through my then-beliefs about vaccine causation.
Since the series is in the bag, I hope that MacNeil does a follow up in a year or two, after he's talked with adults with autism and -- well -- families like ours, who put respect and love for our kids before their labels and challenges. No one can deny our kids need support, but, as Rivka Iacullo said in today's Thinking Person's Guide to Autism essay, Randomness, "[My child] doesn’t need to be fixed; he needs help in ways I didn’t anticipate."
Here is Robert MacNeil himself, talking with Hari Sreenivasen about the genesis of the series. I think it is important to hear Mr. MacNeil talk about coming at the series as a reporter yet crossing the line into personal territory.
The entire six-part series plus additional interviews and study materials can be found at www.pbs.org/newshour/news/autism.
I've also been enjoying Holly Robinson Peete's series on The Talk, about Teens With Autism. Holly's approach on these segments is all about love, acceptance, and being proud of folks like Winfred Cooper and Carly Fleischmann for their successes.
Have I missed any other recent autism video must-sees?