I was thrilled when Hartley asked me to review “Autistic Like: Graham’s Story” by Erik Lindhorst. I’ve been wanting to see the film for a while since their story is so relatable to our personal journey. Erik and Jennie Linthorst are parents to Graham, a boy diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder. This film is an honest look at the struggle parents have throughout the diagnostic process and early years.
When Graham was about a year old, Erik and Jennie began to notice some differences in Graham’s development. For example, he would fixate on lines and floor patterns. When Jennie takes Graham in for his 15 month well check, she mentions this to the pediatrician and Graham is tentatively diagnosed with Autism. The Lindhorsts journey begins, and we are along for the ride.
Graham begins ABA therapy, and while Erik and Jennie see improvement, they don’t feel the therapy is quite the right fit. They see Graham doing what he is coached to do, but not really making connections to people. During one of those one-off parenting moments, Erik has an idea and does something to connect with his son, and they have their breakthrough moment. (I really don’t want to tell you all what it is, but trust me when I say it is touching and funny! You just have to watch it yourself.)
After the breakthrough moment, the Lindhorsts really begin to trust their parental gut and seek other therapy options for Graham. During the process they find out about Floortime, and they also get a more accurate diagnosis for Graham–Sensory Processing Disorder. The research begins in earnest, and Erik and Jennie begin to see Graham make those connections they knew he was capable of making.
I won’t go into too much detail of the overall movie (I don’t want to ruin it for any of you!) but I do want to touch on the things my husband and I talked about most. We were both blown away by how universal the journey is. All parents research, obsess, lose sleep, feel exhausted, become overwhelmed, and Erik and Jennie are no exception. I was moved to tears when Jennie comments about how exhausting it is to be a parent to a special kid on a simple play date at the park. Not knowing who to trust is another universal truth, and as parents we just have to trust our instincts and keep searching. …continue reading