To anyone who's ever cared to read the About Us section of this site, you would know that part of the reason why I made this site was for my son Paolo - who loves indie music, as well as surfing on the net. Another cool thing about him is that he's autistic. When I say cool, I don't mean to take autism lightly here - believe me, we've had our ups and downs with his condition, but to borrow Dr. Temple Grandin's words (who's a famous autistic person herself), it's also a gift.
Autism, to define it briefly, is a neurological developmental disorder that affects a person's social and communication skills and, to a greater or lesser degree, their motor and language skills. It manifests differently from one individual or another - since it is a spectrum disorder, so some may be on the lower end of the spectrum (non-verbal, extreme difficulty with motor skills) or on the higher end (highly verbal, but still laking in the social and communication skills department).
In films, one of the more popular portrayals of an autistic person would be from the 1988 film "RainMan". Dustin Hoffman (who won an academy award for it), actually based it on the famous savant from Utah, Kim Peek. Not to generalize that all autistics are savants though - my son does struggle with grade 2 math - it's a nice movie to see if you want to get an idea of how the autistic brain works. Also, if you haven't seen it yet, another excellent film is the HBO movie based on Temple Grandin's life - who which I was quite relieved to know, also had great struggles with math as my son did (as her science teacher would explain, she was more of a visual thinker, and math, like language, is quite abstract). To note, for new movies released about people with autism, I wouldn't care too much for Adam (released last year) - it's more of a date movie and a new version of Say Anything than anything else - only replace John Cusack with an autistic Hugh Dancy. A few minutes into it, my husband had to stop from watching, since it portrayed a man with Aspergers, struggling on his own, his parents dead and him just recently being sacked from his job - the nightmare of most parents with autistic children.
I'll stop with the movies here, since it might be a list for a another time. So to move on to today's List Addicts Fridays, and in honor of April 2 being World Autism Awareness Day, I present a couple of songs that Paolo has marked as his favorite at one time or another (apologies, if I've listed some songs in other lists on the site before, my son does love to go here and click on stuff). To note, some of these songs have made my ears bleed - as the non-neurotypical boy that he is, Paolo loves to listen to things over and over and over again -