Right at the beginning of what would become a silent, but overwhelming flood of information, blogs, websites and quack advise stirred by a few words typed into the almighty Google, I came across the expression “Refrigerator Mothers”.
Soon after, I found explanation via this documentary from 2003 about mothers and their autistic children in the 1950s and 60s in the US.
The film paints an intimate portrait of an entire generation of American mothers whose children were diagnosed with autism. Labelled ‘refrigerator mothers‘ in the 1950s and 1960s by the medical establishment for their supposedly frigid and detached mothering, these women “have emerged with strong, resilient voices to share the details of their personal journeys.”
(from wiki // Imdb info here).
It is really quite shocking but it’s incredibly interesting at the same time, to see how far we have – thankfully! – come, at least in most western, ‘civilized’ countries. There is still a long way to go, but I think that some parents, like me, now feel almost ‘relief’ when given a diagnosis Autism.
Today, the diagnosis means we finally know what is going on with our child and, well, at least we get clues and we can get some help. I like to think there no more actual stigma attached to the conditions of the autism umbrella. Am I naive?
Maybe I am idealising this because my negative experiences are, so far, limited to a few nasty words from other kids. Maybe there is still a lot of confusion, on the parents side, in the schools, within the respective system of GPs and specialists. But I think it’s more a lack of information and training that brings on this confusion, and maybe, sadly, sometimes discrimination and bullying, but I hope that we are moving forward, always forward.
A witch hunt on the mothers? Times have changed. Or have they?
A chilling documentary, I recommend it for those who have the nerves to see how generations before us suffered where they should have gotten help and support.
3 stars out of 5 for DIFFERENCE
(worth watching for anyone, but might have lengths when you are not concerned )
4 stars out of 5 for PARENTS of children on the spectrum
(whilst no longer relevant today in most countries, there is still some persistent blaming and shaming of mothers going around, and this is part of where it came from. educational. )
Have you seen this documentary ? What’s your thoughts ? Comments ?
Other recommendations ?