Awards for parents and kids with attention deficit — and two films about learning disabilities that should have been in the running.
by Wayne Kalyn
The entertainment award season is in full swing. The Globes and SAGs came and went and the Oscars are in view. We hand out so much statuary, swag, and kudos to talented actors during the course of a year. What about the rest of us?
How about we redirect some of that awards fervor toward parents and kids with ADHD? There could be “best performance in a drama” for parents who gracefully survive their child’s meltdowns in a mall or “best performance in a comedy” for a dad who navigates the maze of a dysfunctional school system looking for accommodations. And, of course, “outstanding performance by an actress in a mini-series” could go to those moms who bite their tongue — or maybe don’t — when friends and family harshly judge their ADHD child.
Speaking of awards, two features that are airing on Home Box Office at the moment should have been included in this year’s “documentary short” nominee category at the Oscars on February 24. They could have been contenders.
I Can’t Do This But I Can Do That introduces us to five children who are mislabeled as slow or lazy. These resilient children and their families, who speak plainly and evocatively about their learning differences, get the right help, tap into their strengths, and leave their challenges behind. Now they look forward to going to school, instead of filling with dread and getting all those stomachaches, as they once did.
Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia tells a similar story: Child struggles in school and is labeled slow, child is diagnosed with dyslexia and gets accommodations, child turns things around and succeeds. The documentary is a tonic for children and their families who may see dyslexia as a millstone for life that will weigh down their ability to achieve great things. Richard Branson, David Boies, Gavin Newsom, and Charles Schwab, all dyslexics, turn that theory on its head.
In the dog days of winter, when even capable, optimistic parents feel a little down, tired, and short on inspiration, these documentaries will fill them with hope — “the thing with feathers,” as Emily Dickinson calls it — until spring arrives.