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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Being Seen

Being Seen is a short film that is being screened in film festivals and has won several awards including one for Best Documentary.

This documentary aims to change the way people with developmental disabilities are viewed. The interviews with the people who have disabilities are funny, heart-wrenching, candid, and show the self-awareness they have regarding their disabilities.

From the opening scene I needed a tissue following this quote: "They don't understand what we're going through. Because they don't have a disability and they look at us and say we're not normal."

I am a parent raising a child with a disability, but Sallie is right, I will never understand what my child is going through as the person who has the disability. I will never be able to tell her "I understand." or "I know what it's like." as it relates to having Down syndrome or a disability and that makes me sad that I won't be able to identify with her in that way.

Kayla knows she has Down syndrome and she knows that means she has an extra chromosome. She doesn't seem to yet have an understanding of the broader sense of disability or how that relates to herself, or to society. She doesn't seem to have a self-awareness, yet, of how Down syndrome affects her. She has never talked in terms of Down syndrome or expressed any frustration with having Down syndrome ... and sometimes I wonder if she ever will ... will she ever have that kind of self-awareness of what it means to have a disability? Will she ever be able to express how Down syndrome impacts her life?

She has mentioned a few times lately "when I'm an adult like you I'll drive my car" and we'll cross that bridge when we come to it; but I wonder when we do will the realization hit her then?

It was certainly eye-opening for me to listen to these adults talk about their disabilities, but also their hopes and dreams.

I also needed a tissue warning when one of the guys was talking about losing his father; that obviously hit close to home for me.

The hope is for the film to be shown in smaller, more intimate screenings in communities everywhere as a way to foster meaningful conversation and tackle the challenges that face society's largest minority.

You can watch the film in its entirety here (it is 15 min long, and totally worth that 15 min of time); the password is 12345.

If you don't have time to watch the full version of the film there is a two-minute trailer here.

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