effects of the drugs

The United States of Autism: Filming

Day 35 of 40 Day United States of Autism Movie Shoot

We came into Long Island today to meet with a family that has come a long way in the last four years, the Iallonardi family. Many people may remember Ralph, Michele, Jackson, Luca, and Bennett from the video Autism Every Day a few years ago. Many will remember the challenges they faced with 3 children on the severe end of the spectrum. After our visit today, we’re proud to tell you how well they’re doing!

Both Ralph and Michele were so relaxed when we arrived and showed us around the house. We set up for an interview, and we were able to talk with Ralph about his journey as a father and Michele about the challenges she’s overcome the past 4 years with all the therapies and kids. We then interviewed Grandma Joanne and Grandpa Anthony who have given so much as grandparents in the home. We had an amazing lunch prepared for the whole crew and had a chance to talk more about the family and everything going on in their lives. It is truly uplifting to hear of all their progress.

After lunch, we got footage of the boys outside, therapies, and of course, pool time. Jackson was wonderful in his therapies, and both Luca and Bennett have come so far it’s amazing to think they were once classified on the spectrum. We’re looking forward to showing the change in their family for all those already familiar with them, as it will have a huge impact on what people believe is possible with their children.

Tomorrow, we head to interview a well known DAN doctor, as well as Raun Kaufman from the Option Institute. Until then, we love you all and can’t wait to hear from you!

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Day 34 of 40 Day United States of Autism Movie Shoot

Today we interviewed Dr. Ezra Susser, MD, DrPH, who is an epidemiology professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, as well as a board member at Autism Speaks and one of the speakers at the most recent United Nations Global Autism Initiative. Dr. Susser was incredibly engaging and wonderful with giving his time towards the film. He talked about what is happening on the global level, what his thoughts were on how the condition was increasing its numbers, and a lot of the controversies surrounding the movement. It was mind blowing to say the least.

Afterwards, we went out to NYC to get some b-roll of the city. Be sure to check back tomorrow when we interview our next family in Long Island. We love you all and can’t wait to hear from you soon!

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Day 33 of 40 Day United States of Autism Movie Shoot

We left Philadelphia this morning to travel to visit a family in New Jersey who have an adult on the spectrum, the Gallup family. As soon as we drove up to the front door, Ray, who is 65, was waiting at the door with a big smile on his face. We felt at home the minute the vehicle was put in park.

Ray and Helen, along with their daughter Julie, have a family member Eric who is now 25. Due to his extreme aggression, he was placed in a residential facility a few years ago and is doing well. The family discussed the challenges they faced and the decisions they made for their son. For anyone who has an adult on the spectrum, or who may be facing it soon, they offered tremendous insight to the critical thoughts and feelings one would face.

The Gallups also for a number of years raised money for research into causation, including speaking with Rimland and supporting Singh, Oleske, and Wakefield. Their own son has many medical challenges which they believe was caused by vaccinations in their son’s case. They talked frankly about the challenges they faced in coming to this conclusion.

We had a wonderful time with the family and their hospitality was wonderful. After a major rain storm, we left to New York City for our next stop and a well deserved day off the crew. Be sure to check back in with us on Tuesday as we interview a Professor from Columbia University and pictures from around the Big Apple.

We love you and can’t wait to hear from you soon!

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Day 32 of 40 Day United States of Autism Movie Shoot

Our crew had an amazing time today in Philadelphia with the Neibauer Family and our trip to Sesame Place. We met David, Holly, Robyn, Kathryn, and Diana at Sesame Place first thing in the morning along with a news crew from NBC 10. The parade was fantastic and the family and crew were able to have a private meeting with some of the characters, including Cookie Monster, Elmo, and Bert and Ernie. Even though it was 110 degrees with the heat index, everyone had a blast and the people will be blown away by what happens at Sesame Place in the final film. What struck us the most was the way the Neibauer family were so at home in the amusement park, a rarity for families with such chaos going on.

We then left to the Neibauer’s house and spent time with an amazing and loving family. The interviews were fantastic, and the heart of the family really came through. It’s obvious to anyone who seems them interact that through all the ups and the downs, there is a lot of love in that relationship. We were excited to capture it on film, and for you to see it soon.

Tomorrow, we head to New Jersey for our last day of filming before our 3rd day off during the last month. Be sure to come back tomorrow and check out more pictures. We love you all, and can’t wait to hear from you soon!

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Day 31 of 40 Day United States of Autism Movie Shoot

We left Washington DC today to go to St. Andrews School in Middletown, DE. It is the place where the 1989 film Dead Poet’s Society with Robin William’s was filmed, as well as the boarding school Richard Everts graduated from for high school. As such, it had a tremendous part to play in the story, and the crew did a fantastic job of capturing the location. Included in the shots was the most dangerous location we’ve attempted, which was a 50 foot climb straight up a ladder with all our camera equipment, with only enough room to go one at a time. Suffice to say, it was a hard fought shot, and Cassie and Rene did a great job of going the extra mile.

We spent a few minutes at Amanda’s point as well before we left. For those who don’t know her, she was an amazing young woman who passed before she could graduate while Rich was at school. On her memoriam is a poem she wrote just before she was lost. It spoke to her character and courage, and her spot is a place of reflection and peace on an otherwise hectic campus.

Be sure to check in with us tomorrow as we get to visit the Neibauer Family and take a side trip to Sesame Place. In the meantime, we love you all and can’t wait to hear from you soon!

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