Lara - Upcoming Documentary
About the Project
LARA (formerly Unheard Silence) is a 45-minute documentary about the life of a child with autism-like traits from a province in the Philippines and her struggles against a lack of resources and funding.
The documentary is named after the real Lara, who is a child from the northern part of the Cebu province who struggles to grasp basic concepts and understanding the lessons taught to her in school. Teacher Lanie, the third grade teacher from her district, used to work in a school that integrates special children in their class and she noticed that Lara is exhibiting similar traits. Unfortunately, teacher Lanie is not qualified to diagnose or determine Lara's needs. But her concern for Lara's well-being encouraged her to reach out to her parents to see if they would consider having Lara get checked to see if she's qualified to transfer to a special education class.
This documentary will follow their story to see how able she is to get into the program and the struggles she faces along the way. With interviews and insights from people who have worked with Filipino children with special needs, the documentary will share viable solutions to make these processes easier for these children and their family. These will come from doctors and experts, who are active participant in giving helping underprivileged children with special needs alongside those who live near Lara and interact with her on a daily basis.
About the Problem
In the provincial parts of the Philippines, there is an absence of knowledge about autism and other types of disabilities as well as a deficit in access to proper resources and channels to properly support persons with disabilities with therapies and special education.
Since there are no Developmental Pediatricians in the provinces, many children exhibiting characteristics typically associated with autism (or with “autistic traits”) never end up getting diagnosed. In addition, there is a stereotype that believes that the adults in their life tend to shrug off their behavior as bugo, abnormal, way disiplina, and so on. However, this may not be the case anymore thanks to exposure to information about these disabilities from the internet and social media.
The documentary aims to take the viewers on an immersive journey about Lara and her family's experience getting the kind of education that she needs. As such, the primary objectives of this project are the following:
Raise awareness of the struggles these children and their families face. Bringing up a child with disabilities is 80% more expensive than raising a child without special needs. This is extra challenging for lower-income families that live far from major cities. In addition, the lack of awareness and knowledge about special needs in the province adds to discrimination and the lack of support these children and their families receive.
Advocate for support for these children and their families. Being far from major cities, there is little access to specialists. The documentary aims to encourage people to advocate for resource allocation and donations that would help build facilities that would encourage doctors and specialists to go to that area and help those struggling with these disabilities.
Fostering understanding of disabilities. A lot of the discrimination faced by these children and their families comes not from a place of hate but from a place of misunderstanding. If they are more aware of what these disabilities are and the struggles they are facing, they would hopefully drop the stigmas they hold and be more compassionate.
Encourage change in the community as a whole. With all the previous goals in mind, the ultimate goal is to foster change in their community so these children and their families will have the support they need.