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A Mother's Courage: Talking Back to Autism

4.4 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Narrated by Oscar winner Kate Winslet and directed by Oscar nominee Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, this inspiring film follows one woman's quest unlock her autistic son's mind. </P>

Margret, whose ten-year-old son Keli is severely autistic, has tried a number of treatments to help her son. Consumed by an unquenchable thirst for knowledge about this mysterious and complex condition, she travels from her home in Iceland to the United States and Europe, meeting scientists and other experts, as well as other families touched by autism. The stakes could not be higher: one in 110 children is diagnosed with autism every year, with boys outnumbering girls four to one.

While she holds no unrealistic expectations, Margret worries that Keli may never be self-sufficient or express himself normally. In her journey, she learns how the brains of autistic children differ from "normal" children and discovers new techniques that could offer a promising future for children with autism, including her son. She also connects with families of autistic children, who share stories of their efforts to help their kids interact with the world around them. Many of their accounts echo her own struggles, including the endless doctor visits and experiments with different treatments, the complication of doing everyday tasks, and the inability to communicate with their children -perhaps the most painful and frustrating aspect of autism.

But as she comes across innovative new therapies that might break down the wall of autism, Margret finds hope that her son may be able to communicate on a level she never thought possible.

Among the experts and advocates Margret encounters are:

-Dr. Temple Grandin, best-selling author and autism advocate, recently the subject of an HBO Film starring Clare Danes</P>

-Dr. David G. Amaral, research director, MIND (Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders) Institute

-Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen, director, Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge

-Dr. Geraldine Dawson, chief science officer, Autism Speaks;

-Soma Mukhopadhyay, who developed the Rapid Prompting Method to teach her autistic son Tito, now a published author

-Portia Iverson and Jonathan Shestack, parents of an autistic child and founders of Cure Autism Now.


A Mother's Courage does not sugarcoat autism, or celebrate it, or cure it. The movie's strength lies in that it shows the heart-wrenching reality of what families have to go through to get assessments, diagnosis and advice; it shows the reality of the pain parents feel when their bubbly, verbal child regresses and becomes autistic. This film is a good resource for promoting community awareness that families can share with their relatives and neighbors. They will gain a better understanding of what families effected by autism go through every day. --Author Chantal Sicile-Kira (41 Things To Know About Autism) on Huffington Post

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Margret Dagmar Ericsdottir, Dr. Temple Grandin, Soma Mukhopadhyay, Dr. David G. Amaral
  • Directors: Fridrik Thor Fridriksson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: First Run Features
  • DVD Release Date: October 26, 2010
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003WOW5N6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,389 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bonita on August 20, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I saw most of this show on TV and went directly to Amazon to see when the video would be available. This is a definite need-to-see experience. What an experience! This takes you to the center of the storm that is autism. I know nothing and have experienced very little contact with this difficulty. I don't care who you are, if you have made it to this review, if you are loving to see your children learn, you need this film. If you are even remotely thinking of home schooling your child for any reason, you need this film. Watch this therapist work with these children and young adults, it's an inspiration for all of us. It give hope like a beacon to anyone in relationship with children. These parents come from from the brink of despair to an elation that you get to share with them. They have dealt with the "expert medical" community that offered them no hope or direction. Alas, a broken system, world wide. It shouts loud at us about how different each of us learn. (when I see how we subject our children to the government learning system and require them to perform--and I look at the miracle of learning that is taking place with these wonderful people, we all need to take a big step back and reconsider our teaching/learning system) These are just children, a lot like yours and mine. (here we have a 50% drop out rate in our schools that possibly speaks to the fact that we are not teaching in a manner where learning can happen) Maybe there are even more autistic children out there than we are aware of, and we are shoving them through this broken system. Here are these children who have LEARNED just being in proximity to love, consistency and opportunity. This persistence needs to infuse us all. The speed of learning, the body language, the encouragement to try, feeding the excitement of accomplishment.Read more ›
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Format: DVD
A heartfelt thank you to Margret for taking on the incredibly emotional subject of autism. While there have been many documentaries made on the subject, none have come close to capturing the essence of what is like to raise an autistic child, but also highlight the incredible abilities within all persons with autism. As a mother of an autistic son who communicates by pointing to a letterboard, I can attest to the transformation that takes place when our children are given the right means with which to communicate. For too long we have focused on the outer "stims", and now we know that we must access their brilliant minds as well. This film champions children with autism, and I think gives them hope for their futures. Well done indeed!
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Format: DVD
I borrowed this movie through netflix because I have an autistic nephew who speaks few words and becomes frustrated when he tries to communicate with him. This video doesn't pass blame or try to figure out what happened to cause autism but how their minds actually work. It shows that a large majority of even the most severely autistic children can learn to communicate, read, and even write through when given the chance. It shows you how you can actually teach your child in your home using what one lady describes as "rapid prompting method" which isn't a program but a way of teaching and communicating by having them point to letters and or words on a piece of paper or on a board of any kind. It is so encouraging to see that these children can perform at their age level even when they can't always speak. I can't wait to tell my sister-in-law about this movie.
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Every several weeks, I search for "autism" books sorted by publication date on Amazon to see if there are any books on the horizon in which I might be interested in adding to my reading list. Perchance, I came across "The Golden Hat: Talking Back to Autism", by Kate Winslet and Margret Ericsdottir, a book with an April 2012 release date. The brief description that is currently being provided for this book mentions that these two authors had paired up in the past to produce a documentary about the journey that Margret had taken with her non-verbal, autistic son, Keli, to find a way to connect with him, and this is that film.

The two core elements of this film that resonated with me are the varied treatments, as well as the many cases of autism, that are depicted. As the father of a son diagnosed with autism, although I have met quite a few children with autism through the networks that our family has taken part, because the autism spectrum is so vast it is always helpful to see other cases and the approaches that other caregivers have taken for their children. We have our own journey, and getting glimpses of the journeys of others, whether it be through the media or through personal experience, is always helpful despite the considerable research that our family performs on behalf of our son.

Although this is a documentary, in my opinion the care the producers took to make this film is akin to another recent HBO film, "Temple Grandin". Along with other professionals, the famous autistic woman Dr. Temple Grandin makes several appearances throughout this film, and provides additional insight reminiscent to what she provided in the extras to "The Horse Boy" (see my review).
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