Henry, the son of Stephen Stills (of Crosby, Stills and Nash), relates to the world through a near encyclopedic knowledge of dinosaurs. Fourteen-year-old Lexy, on the cusp of adolescence, has a new interest in boys. Wyatt, precociously verbal and terrorized by bullies, has a passion for orchids. Adam taught himself to play blues harmonica before he was two, and has currently taken up the cello. In addition to their interests and activities, all of these kids also have some form of autism. Director Tricia’s Regan’s riveting documentary follows five different families, participating in The Miracle Project (a theatre program created specifically for children with special needs) as their kids write and perform their own musical production.
The film is as much about the parents of autistic kids as it is about the kids themselves. How does one communicate with a child who won’t speak? What do you do when your kid only sleeps two hours per night? How do you cope with a world that has little use or compassion for kids that are so different? These are only a few of the questions that the parents must deal with, questions illustrated by a series of almost painfully honest and blunt encounters. Perhaps the most surprising of the kids profiled is Neal, the son of Elaine Hall, who founded the Miracle Project. Profoundly autistic, he hardly speaks, and is prone to violent tantrums, but when he is finally fitted with a keyboard voicebox, a sweet, intelligent personality is revealed. A complete triumph!