“Love, Hope & Autism” is a thought provoking documentary which chronicles the lives of the Fresco family for 21 years. Robert Fresco, a professional cameraman, began taking videos of his twin babies, Hallee and Fraser, from the time of their birth. When the children were three years old, Fraser began to exhibit unusual behavior and was diagnosed with autism, a discovery that changed the lives of everyone in the family forever.
Their story is illuminating, honest and, at times, heartbreaking. Hallee’s needs are often unmet because Fraser’s are so urgent. As she says, “Dad was not very aware of me. I was the normal kid and he wasn’t. He found him way more fascinating than me.” There is a family break up and slow reorganization. Underlying all of the events which occur throughout the years is a bedrock of love and the family’s determination to do its best for Fraser.
The nature of Fraser’s autism is particularly severe; even as an adult, he needs constant supervision and assistance with feeding, bathing and dressing. The twins are now 21 years old. Hallee has finished her university studies but Fraser will soon be in limbo. When people with autism reach the age of 21, they are no longer eligible for publicly funded education. The family’s one and only concern right now is “what is life going to look like for Fraser for the next 40 years?” And at this time, there is no easy answer for that question.
Diagnoses of autism have risen nearly 100% over the past few years; vital questions about lifetime needs are being posed by more and more families. “Love, Hope & Autism” offers a candid look at the realities of autism spectrum disorder and leaves viewers with a deep empathy for the true lifetime toll of rearing a child with ASD.
“Love, Hope & Autism” premieres on March 18, 2018 at 9:00 pm, ET at: CBC Docs POV. It will be available for viewing online on March 16th at cbc.ca/CBCDocsPOV, from 5pm ET.
Article – Judy Robb