Mr Hammie watched his favourite film the other night; "As Good As it Gets" with Jack Nicholson. I love that he loves it so much because he is so much like the lead character! Ostensibly about Obsessive Compulsive Disorders; the character Melvin is firmly in the spectrum with raging Aspergers tendencies. His inability to stop himself from calling it like it is obviously alienates him from his community but does not hide his brilliance.
My favourite is when he visits his psychiatrist after a long break. The room is different he remarks; "Yes and I have grown a beard and my wife is ill Melvin but you never bother to ask about me!"
My own lovely Boo was watching me surf the Internet recently and I pointed out his photo which still appears on many of the release.ie menus. My Boo attended 12 months of classes with a 5th year student who was volunteering to help us out; because she was interested in speech therapy as a career.
She gave up a year of Saturdays to take Boo to the classes; without accepting a penny from me.
I showed Boo a picture of himself and this girl in profile and asked him "who is that? " "It's Boo" he says; "
And who is that?" I said, pointing to our helper angel.
He answered with an array of names of special needs assistants and babysitters who had worked for us in the past, he even made up a few names. Clearly had no idea of the girls name. (and she had given up a year of Saturdays!!)
But then he said "That's the mammoth jumper, Mammoths have small ears as they live in the cold"
He remembered the sweat shirt he was wearing in the picture, in detail, although he could only see the sleeve but he had absolutely no recollection of the person who had helped him!
And that Ladies and gentlemen; is the wonderful world of autism!
One of my favourite films is "I am Sam"
Sean Penn plays a man with obvious intellectual impairment but good life skills. He has a group of friends one of whom is very autistic. This guy wears two shirts at all times. He defends his friend Sam in court but wears the two shirts; one on top of the other.
I have had Boo appear downstairs with 9 shirts on (I was nagging him to get dressed). Everyday I have to prompt him to put his jeans on with the zip at the front, his tee shirts with the picture at the front. And the number of times I have brought clean underwear down for him to put on; then watched as he tried to put it over his trousers.
It just doesn't matter to him.
This holidays Bratty has been very motivated to go out. She selects outfits from her drawers and then insists on wearing all of them. Pinafore over dress over t-shirt over pyjama pants was one ensemble.
School days I just dress them myself for the sake of expediency. But during the holidays I try to encourage some independence. We get some interesting results.
If you read my profile you will know I particularly liked "Snowcake" with Sigourney Weaver as an adult with high functioning autism who just happened to have a baby daughter while she was a teenager.
The daughter is a young adult at the start of the film and is obviously a free soul who is well in tune with her mother's condition.
The meeting of the troubled lead played by Alan Rickman; and the adult with autism played by Sigourney Weaver is a joy to behold. Not a love story in the traditional sense but it truly celebrates a love of humanity and diversity. The attitude of the well meaning small towns folk and Sigourney's character's response to this is also hilarious. Watch out for what she does with their "condolence cookie".
My favourite scene is when Alan Rickman's character is trying to talk about his son, and Sigourney's character wants to talk about snow; her obsession.
She waits patiently as he explains that he is sad and needs to talk about this.
" Well" she says, pausing wryly "what did your SON think of snow?"
I am gonna leave it there because I am knackered having survived 13 days of Easter Holidays. I will try and post some clips if I can work out how to load them on. Then write a bit more about Rainman (hmmm) but also about Huiteme my other favourite special people film!