Thought-provoking films that reveal the human stories behind significant social issues.

Autism: Challenging Behaviour

Memorable, moving and thought-provoking - Sunday Times
Fascinating - Daily Mail
Compelling - TimeOut
Remarkable - The Times
Eye-opening - Daily Telegraph
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Shortlisted for Grierson Award for Best Documentary on a Contemporary Theme 2014
Autism: Challenging Behaviour is a documentary which explores the controversy around ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis), an intensive intervention used to treat autism. Parents who want ABA for their children passionately believe that it is the best way to teach a child new skills and to help them function in mainstream society, but critics of ABA argue it is dehumanising and abusive to try to eliminate autistic behaviour. This film follows three-year-old Jack and four-year-old Jeremiah through their first term at Treetops School in Essex - the only state school in the UK which offers a full ABA programme. Neither boy has any language, Jeremiah finds it hard to engage with the world around him and Jack has severe issues with food. Both their parents have high hopes of the 'tough love' support that Treetops offers, but will struggle with their childrens progress.
Autism: Challenging Behaviour
Autism: Challenging Behaviour
These and other stories are intercut with the views and experiences from those who oppose ABA and who argue that at the heart of the approach is the drive to make children with autism as normal as possible, rather than accepting and celebrating their difference. Lee, an autistic mother of a son who has Aspergers, describes how the drive to make her behave and act like a 'normal' child broke her, and how she was determined to accept her son for who he was.
Autism: Challenging Behaviour
Autism: Challenging Behaviour
The question of how far we accept autistic difference and how much we should push people with autism to fit into society's norms raises wider questions that affect us all: how do we achieve compliance in our children? How much should we expect children to conform and how far should parents push children to fit in with their own expectations?
Broadcast on BBC 4, 5th November 2013.

A Two Step Films/Dartmouth Films Co-Production.
Made with the support of Media Europe and the Wellcome Trust.

Director/Producer: Fran Robertson
Editor: John Mister
Executive Producer: Kevin Macdonald and Christo Hird
Camera: Adam Tysoe
Production Co-ordinator: Alexis L Wood
Autism: Challenging Behaviour DVD

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