Autism: The Sequel is a fantastic follow-up to the 2007 documentary Autism: The Musical. Both films document 5 children diagnosed with Autism and their families. All of these children cross paths due to their involvement in The Miracle Project. For those who are unaware, The Miracle Project is an inclusive drama program allowing children with Autism the chance to build a community with others and perform on stage. This program was founded and developed by Elaine Hall and has helped open doors for children that might otherwise be shut. What was striking about the documentary is how the focus was on truth and hope.
There’s was nothing in the sequel which didn’t ring true. In the interest of full disclosure, my two sons are on the spectrum. Documentaries that discuss Autism often demonize the world around special needs families. Autism: The Sequel doesn’t seek to cast blame but does uplift these individuals and their families. The film shows that there’s a light at the end of every tunnel for these children. The film seamlessly weaves in footage from the original film as a means of connecting the past to the present.
Autism: The Sequel does show how raising special needs children can impact these families personally and financially. Of the 5 families who were showcased, 40% of them are divorced, and at least one is struggling to pay for the care needed for their son. We do get to see mothers and fathers worry about how they intend to keep their kids safe as they get older. This movie wasn’t meant to cast Autism’s impact in a negative light; it was just a statement of fact. The truth in this documentary is as vital as the hope it projects.
Overall, as a film critic, this documentary was well crafted and the perfect companion piece to the 2007 film. As a special needs parent, my heart was full of hope seeing how these kids have matured. Hope is never a bad thing.