Autism and Family Resilience: Lessons from Ezra.

.Free Tickets

The tickets were free. The invitation to the movie screening arrived in my crowded inbox at just the right moment. I was searching for new opportunities for Mikelle to expand her world.


The invitation was from the University of Colorado, JFK Partners program, part of the University Centers for Excellence, a national training and research program. JFK Partners is mainly known for its efforts to understand and support the needs of individuals on the Autism Spectrum.  Thus, the invitation for a screen for EZRA, a movie highlighting one individual and their family’s journey through parenting and navigating the “System.”

Every so often, a film comes out, giving us a glimpse into the daily lives of people with disabilities. A few of these memorable films have been nominated and, on occasion, won various film awards, like “An Oscar.”

Famous Films about Life with a Disabilty

Others reach a large audience primarily associated with the world of disability. For example, filmmaker Dan Habib, director and producer at the Westchester Institute for Human Development, recently won a film award for his documentary, The Ride Ahead. LIke Dan’s other movies, this a fun and candid look at adulting with a disability featuring his son, Sam.


Other films like Spellers focus on facilitated communication and Autism.  This movie makes you question everything you thought you knew about Autism.

A few years ago, CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) highlighted the life of Ruby, a hearing child living with her deaf family. When the family business is threatened, Ruby faces a common yet difficult decision: to pursue her dreams or to abandon them for the sake of her loved ones. Disability and life often force people to make such challenging choices.

Crip Camp

Former President Obama and Michelle Obama produced the Judy Hueman story, Crip Camp, which delved into the post-polio world and the beginnings of the inclusion and self-determination movement.

Mikelle and I often share these movies with her team to foster a deeper understanding of life with a disability, highlighting its challenges and opportunities and the shared journey of living with challenges and finding courage.

In Ezra, we see this familiar problem that defines our character, either strengthening our character and/or fracturing our family.

In this film, we see both parents’ points of view. It is a film of impossible choices or great frustration, shown by the young actor who played Ezra, who is living with Autism, as he comes to know who he is in this complex and confusing world he inhabits with his family.

The Scenes We Noted

scenes resonated with Mikelle and me. One was the school rejecting him as a possible student; another was “the experts” wanting to over-medicate him rather than understand him; and the last was Ezra’s father being arrested on the floor of the ABC Jimmy Kimmel show for believing in his son.

We encourage you to watch this award-worthy movie and find the places where it touches your heart, resonates with your experience, and how you celebrate this particular victory.  In the course of life there are many more challenges to face as everyone grows older. But, savor triumph’s beauty for us and this film.