Documentaries

Client

The Special Child Trust

Produced by

Pritish Nandy Communications

Written & Directed by

Meghna Gulzar

Music by

Samir Uddin

Length

35 mins

Synopsis   |   Director's Note

‘Mysteries of the mind’… ‘Grey areas’…

Never have these terms been more apt or deeper linked, than when it comes to Developmental Disorders. Autism Spectrum Disorders, Learning Disabilities like Dyslexia, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and the like, all come under the gamut of Developmental Disorders. As varied the ailments, so are their manifestations (or lack of them!), their diagnoses and therapies, and most importantly, their social and emotional consequences.

Intensive and intimate conversations with parents of children afflicted with developmental disorders, uncover the difficulties and delays in diagnosing them – the symptoms being mainly socio-psychological and behavioralthereby leading to mis-diagnosis or delayed diagnosis.

The conversations also reveal the emotional hardships faced by the parents, the siblings of the affected children as well as the entire family, in coming to terms with the fact that the child is afflicted with a developmental disorder. Interviews with family therapists reveal among other things, how the anguish of the parents is often overlooked, as the parents are mostly focussed on helping and treating the child alone, thereby neglecting to acknowledge and process their own emotions.

In-depth interviews with experienced behavioral psychologists also attempt to demystify the diagnosis of these disorders by enumerating various red-flags to look out for in a growing child, in order to recognise or rule out the possibility of a developmental disorder. They also throw light on various myths and superstitions surrounding these disorders – their causes and their so-called ‘cures’.

It is a sad but certain fact that there is at present, no cure for most developmental disorders. However, there are various avenues – therapies, special educational techniques and people and places that provide these, that help in reducing the symptoms of these disorders. The film provides an elaborate overview of these therapies. Enlightening conversations with the special educators also help us understand better, the workings of the mind of a person with developmental disorder.

A significant concern for all parents and therapists is the future prospect of a child with a developmental disorder. The film explores the subsequent issues and concerns that come with the transition of the child into an adolescent or adult – hormonal changes, sexual awareness, professional and economic potentials, social relationships, and even rites of passage.

In a poignant moment a parent raises the question – “Who is to care for him after us?” Unfortunately, there aren’t many easy answers, but raising the questions is a beginning.

And ‘Closer’ is an attempt at making that start.

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