Autism Is a World

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Autism Is a World
Directed byGerardine Wurzburg
Produced byGerardine Wurzburg
Written bySue Rubin
Release date
  • 2004 (2004)
CountryUnited States

Autism Is a World is an American short subject documentary film allegedly written by Sue Rubin in 2004, an autistic woman who is purported to have learned to communicate via the discredited technique of facilitated communication, which scientists widely agree only appears effective due to the facilitator unconsciously guiding the hands of people with autism.[1][2][3] The film was produced and directed by Gerardine Wurzburg and co-produced by the CNN cable network. It was nominated in the 77th annual Academy Awards for Best Documentary Short Subject.[4] Wurzburg previously won an Academy Award in 1992 for the film Educating Peter.

Rubin is an autistic woman who was considered to be intellectually disabled as a child. According to the film, at the age of thirteen, she learned to express herself through a computer keyboard with the help of another person, otherwise known as facilitated communication, revealing that she was in fact highly intelligent. She went on to study history, specializing in Latin American History at Whittier College, and to write speeches about her life as an autistic person. Director Wurzburg has called Rubin "the Helen Keller of her generation."[5] Rubin's dialogue is narrated by actress Julianna Margulies.[6]

Autism researchers such as Gina Green of San Diego State University have criticised the film for its positive portrayal of facilitated communication. Green stated that making a film without "even a hint, much less a disclosure" of the evidence against facilitated communication "is appalling".[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lilienfeld; et al. "Why debunked autism treatment fads persist". Science Daily. Emory University. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  2. ^ Editorial Board. "Syracuse University's reinforcement of facilitated communication inexcusable, concerning". The Daily Orange. Syracuse University. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  3. ^ Todd, James T. (13 July 2012). "The moral obligation to be empirical: Comments on Boynton's 'Facilitated Communication - what harm it can do: Confessions of a former facilitator'". Evidence-Based Communication Assessment and Intervention. Taylor & Francis Group. 6 (1): 36–57. doi:10.1080/17489539.2012.704738. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  4. ^ "NY Times: Autism Is a World". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-07.
  5. ^ Horn, John (February 18, 2005). "True believers: Heartfelt stories abound in little-noticed Oscar-nominated shorts". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Mann, Lisa Barrett (February 22, 2005). "Oscar Nominee: Documentary or Fiction?". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 4, 2017.

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