What? Something might be worth watching on broadcast television tonight?

Watch Neurotypical – Trailer on PBS. See more from POV.

I checked, it’s on my local PBS channel at 9pm tonight (it’s faring far better than the programs about evolution, which typically get shunted off to 2am). I may have to figure out how to work the tuner on my television again. There are these numbers on the remote…I guess I push them.


  1. PDX_Greg says

    You don’t need anything but the on/off button if you leave it on PBS. That’s what I do. For volume, just adjust your distance from the set.

  2. carlie says

    Well, I think he could have made a much better movie with the footage he had. The first 15 minutes were almost exclusively the 4 year old, so my non-NT kid was bored and left right about then. The NT kid lasted about 10 more minutes, then gave up. Then it got interesting from the perspective of hearing about teenagers, but then it veered into a couple fighting about whether to stay married, which was quite uncomfortable. Some people got very little screen time, and then the 4 year old was on for a few more minutes again. I guess it was ok, just didn’t hit the interests we had in it.

  3. schweinhundt says


    Thanks for the review/input. I’m interested in the subject but don’t want to waste my time on a lame rendering.

  4. eigenperson says

    Yeah, I was not too impressed.

    People with autism have a lot going on inside their heads. You can’t get access to that by watching a four-year-old walk around. If he had just cut the four-year-old I think you would have had a very interesting movie, but there was an awful lot of the four-year-old.

    To me, of the ones with full screen time, the most interesting was Wolf. He had good insight into how he fit into the world and had taken control of his own life. I would have preferred 50 minutes of listening to him talk since I’m sure he had a lot more to say than we heard.

  5. eigenperson says

    …so, reading the filmmaker’s statement on the website it seems like he included the 4-year-old to give nonverbal people with autism a voice in the film. This did not work. It’s too hard to understand what she’s going through without projecting. In a few places I felt like I might have an insight into what she was feeling, but mostly not. And I felt like her parents didn’t really understand either, and couldn’t speak for her.

    But I do feel like I understand a little more why she was in there, now.

  6. dreikin says

    I haven’t watched it yet (if I ever do), but with regard to the marriage segment talked about above, this forum post might be relevant. It was written by someone filmed for Neurotypical and talks about how she feels misrepresented by it – in particular, how they only focused on her marriage.

  7. carlie says

    dreikin – hm, that’s very interesting. I feel weird dissecting someone else’s personality, but that post kind of goes along with what her husband was complaining about on film, actually. He basically said that everything has gotten worse for him and their marriage since his wife found out she was autistic, because that’s her whole focus now and he doesn’t know how he fits in her world any more. And the linked comment kind of reinforced that – “I have a lot to say about autism, and I’m not happy that they focused on my marriage and what it’s doing to my husband instead”. It was really sad, that part.

    eigenperson – ok, I can see giving non-verbal people a voice. I guess I’m more frustrated at the constant focus on autism in kids (in general) now that my child is a teen; you have to look harder to find resources about being older with autism, and I had been hoping from the promos that this would be one of those resources. And it kind of was, but watching the kid for so long was a big hurdle that my Aspie kid just wouldn’t deal with. It was showing her, but not really telling a story. Plus, this may have been just me, but it had a bit of the feel of “oh, watch this poor sweet baby who can’t express herself” about it.

    schweinhundt – it wasn’t all bad – the interviews with the adults were pretty fascinating. One guy talked about how it took him years to unravel the rules of playing tag, and another was hilarious talking about how to do conversations, and the teens were great. Just the way it was all put together had a lot of loooong dramatic soundless “let’s watch people walk around” filler.

  8. says

    Yeah, there were some interesting insights when people were talking about their personal experiences, but I felt like most of it was empty padding.

    I’ve noticed this in some documentaries I’ve seen: they’ve got about 10 minutes of useful material, but it has to fit an hour, so they stuff in stock footage or video of a protagonist walking about or shuffling papers, and also repeat the same points many times. It turns what could have been perhaps a good solid blog post into a low information density slog.

  9. damien75 says

    I tried to find that documentary online, unsuccessfully.

    If anyone knows how I can see it on the internet I’d be pleased to know.

    However, from the reviews, it seems I am not losing much.

  10. says

    Here is a direct link to my post. with some updates, as I update the post on a semi-regular basis at this point. I hate being in the film. Nothing good has come of it for me, and, yes, actually, I *should* get some benefit from being in a film, or at least not have it damage my personal life the way this one has. Please do not write thinking I am going to respond to anything that is said about me here. I will be posting one more link sometime in the near future.

  11. Shannon Des Roches Rosa says

    With regards to Carrie’s comment on Paula’s marriage ending, and choosing to believe the husband — I’d like you to consider that this is what nearly *always* happens in scenarios between Autistic & Neurotypical people — folks take the side of the NT person, especially when it makes a good story or goes along with a narrative. Whether it’s due to overt or unperceived biased against Autistic people, it happens.

    I’m disappointed that a stellar activist and Autistic role model like Paula was twice dismissed — once by editing her down to “our marriage ended because of autism,” and then again by people choosing to believe her husband’s third-person-edited perspective over her first-person explanation of what really happened.

  12. carlie says

    and choosing to believe the husband

    Can we not believe both? Their stories don’t seem to conflict in any way in the way they were portrayed – in fact, they fit together very well. “I feel neglected” isn’t something you can objectively define as true or false, so I don’t think believing that is taking sides. I didn’t see the story as “our marriage ended because of autism” at all, but more “her activism is taking up a lot of time and we don’t have as much as I’d want for us”. Maybe that’s not correct either, but I didn’t see it as “blaming autism” for their relationship problems.

    As for the portrayal being different than expected, that’s obviously a problem with a lot of documentaries, and I think filmmakers are being shady when they tell you it will be one thing and then they do another. If during the course of filming they get another idea, they should pass that by the person in question before putting the movie out, ESPECIALLY if the goal of the documentary is ostensibly to give those people their own voice and tell their own story.