A documentary that tells the story of Moroccan families caring for children with autism is screening in Chicago.
The documentary, which premiered on November 17, 2018, at Rabat’s 23rd film festival at Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, is now traveling to the US for an adults-only screening of the documentary. The event will be held 7-8:30 p.m., June 19, at Kibbitznest Books, Brews & Blarney, 2212 N. Clybourn Ave., Chicago. Tickets are free, but RSVP required.
Moroccan filmmaker Rajae Bouardi is co-directing it with Jackie Spinner, an associate professor at Columbia College Chicago and former bureau chief at the Washington Post.
Spiner’s own two adopted Moroccan sons have autism. “It’s sad to see how hard the parents of the Moroccan boys in the film work to find opportunities that I take for granted, including the right my sons have in America to go to school,” Spinner said.
“Like the boys in the film, my children want to go to school and they need to be there if they are going to have a chance to be productive adults”
Read also: Autism: Morocco Takes One Step at a Time
Houda Zakri, who advises families who have children with special needs, said that Morocco does not have the institutional, economic, or governmental support needed to help children with autism.
“Families are left alone to struggle to help their children integrate a careless society and to live with fear from the future,” she concluded.
The struggles that Zakri is referring to include expensive medical bills, which can exceed MAD 5000 monthly. The average income in Morocco is MAD 2,400 per month.
Even though Morocco has inaugurated a special degree for individuals with autism, integrating autistic youth into the educational system has its challenges as there is a shortage of qualified professionals to care for special needs students.
There is also a lack of awareness around autism, which leads to misinformation and further problems.