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DD-Related Reading and Viewing Lists

This page was created for Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in March. At other times of the year, we use it to share our DD-related viewing and reading lists.

Office Closure Notice

The lobby of the Developmental Disabilities office located at 3700 SW Murray Blvd, Ste. 2100, in Beaverton, will be temporarily closed effective February 5, 2024 until further notice. This office location will still accept documents in the drop box located outside of the building and is open for appointment only. If you have any questions, or need assistance, please contact the main line at: 503-846-3150. Thank you for your understanding. 

What to watch

In the Shadow of Fairview (YouTube)

Fairview Training Center was Oregon’s primary institution for people with developmental disabilities. Until its closure in 2000, it housed over 10,000 residents. For some residents, it was the only home they ever knew. For others, it was a prison. Watch it.

The Theory of Everything (Amazon Prime, Apple TV)

In the 1960s, Cambridge University student and future physicist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) falls in love with fellow collegian Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones). At 21, Hawking learns that he has motor neuron disease. Despite this -- and with Jane at his side -- he begins an ambitious study of time, of which he has very little left, according to his doctor. He and Jane defy terrible odds and break new ground in the fields of medicine and science, achieving more than either could hope to imagine.

The Peanut Butter Falcon (Paramount+, Apple TV)

The Peanut Butter Falcon is a 2019 American comedy-drama film. The plot follows a young man with Down syndrome who flees from an assisted living facility and befriends a wayward fisherman on the run. As the two men form a rapid bond, a social worker attempts to track them.

The Music Within (Apple TV, Google Play, Tubi)

After a confrontation with one of his idols dashes his dreams of studying public speaking in college, Richard Pimentel (Ron Livingston) joins the Army and ships off to Vietnam. During his service, Richard loses nearly all of his hearing. Joining a new circle of friends, including a man with cerebral palsy and a war veteran living with alcoholism, Richard discovers his gift for motivational speaking and becomes an advocate for people with disabilities.

Carol of the Bells (Tubi)

A young man with a troubled past searches for his biological mother and discovers that she lives with a developmental disability.

The Fundamentals of Caring (Netflix)

A story about a boy who experiences a disability and wants to go on a road trip with his caregiver.

Radio (Apple TV, Google Play, Amazon Prime)

In a racially divided town, coach Jones (Ed Harris) spots Radio (Cuba Gooding Jr.) near his practice field and is inspired to befriend him. Soon, Radio is Jones' loyal assistant, and principal Daniels (Alfre Woodard) happily notes that Radio's self-confidence is skyrocketing. But things start to sour when Jones begins taking guff from fans who feel that his devotion to Radio is getting in the way of the team's quest for a championship.

Mission to Lars (Apple TV)

A touching, small scale documentary about a Metallica fan living with autism's quest to meet his hero, Lars Ulrich. 

Sproutflix (website)

Sproutflix, founded in 2009, hosts the largest and most diverse collection of films featuring people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) on the marketplace. With over 280 titles, Sproutflix hopes to reinforce accurate portrayals of individuals within this community, help breakdown stereotypes and promote a greater acceptance of differences and awareness of similarities..

A Beautiful Mind (Apple TV, Google Play, Amazon Prime)

A human drama inspired by events in the life of John Forbes Nash Jr., and in part based on the biography "A Beautiful Mind" by Sylvia Nasar. From the heights of notoriety to the depths of depravity, John Forbes Nash, Jr. experienced it all. A mathematical genius, he made an astonishing discovery early in his career and stood on the brink of international acclaim. But the handsome and arrogant Nash soon found himself on a painful and harrowing journey of self-discovery.

Temple Grandin (Amazon Prime, HBO Max)

Before enrolling in college, famed animal husbandry expert Temple Grandin (Claire Danes) visits a cattle ranch owned by her aunt Ann (Catherine O'Hara) and demonstrates a brilliance for all things mechanical. Once classes begin, Grandin, who has autism, rises to meet the intellectual challenges -- though the social ones are a bit more difficult. Grandin triumphs over prejudice to become an innovator in the field of animal care, and a lifelong advocate for humane slaughtering practices.

Unstrung Heroes (Apple TV, Google Play, Amazon Prime)

A 12-year-old (Nathan Watt) striving to cope with the impending death of his mother (Andie MacDowell) must leave her and his genius father (John Turturro) and live with his uncles (Michael Richards, Maury Chaykin) in 1960s Los Angeles.

Keep the Change (Apple TV, Google Play, Amazon Prime)

When aspiring filmmaker David is mandated by a judge to attend a social program at the Jewish Community Center, he is sure of one thing: he doesn't belong there. But when he's assigned to visit the Brooklyn Bridge with the vivacious Sarah, sparks fly and his convictions are tested. Their budding relationship must weather Sarah's romantic past, David's judgmental mother, and their own pre-conceptions of what love is supposed to look like.

Best Summer Ever (Hulu)

A high school football player is shocked to discover that the new girl in school is the same girl he fell in love with at a summer dance camp.

Jeremy the Dud (YouTube)

Jeremy the Dud is an irreverent comedy short set in an opposite world where everyone has a disability. Those who don’t are treated with the same prejudice, stigma and condescending attitudes people with disabilities often face in our society.

Everything's Gonna Be Okay (Hulu)

Nicholas is a 20-something visiting his dad and teenage half-sisters, one of whom is on the autism spectrum. When Nicholas' trip is extended due to his father's untimely death, the siblings are left to cope with not only a devastating loss, but also the realization that Nicholas is the one who will have to rise to the occasion and hold it all together. Navigating autism, budding sexuality, consent, parenthood, adolescence, family and grief, the heartfelt comedy follows this imperfect family as they discover the importance of finding happiness in the middle of really difficult moments, one awkward conversation at a time.

I'm Not Your Inspiration, Thank You Very Much (TED Talk)

Writer, comedian and advocate Stella Young's 10-minute TED Talk.

"Special" (Netflix)

Actor-writer Ryan O'Connell stars in this semi-autobiographical series based on his memoir. He plays Ryan, a gay man with cerebral palsy who decides to do away with his identity as an accident victim and go after the life that he wants. After years of dead-end internships, blogging in his pajamas and mainly communicating through text, Ryan figures out how to take his life from bleak to chic as he gets ready to start limping toward adulthood. O'Connell serves as an executive producer on the comedy series, along with "The Big Bang Theory" star Jim Parsons.

Atypical (Netflix)

This heartfelt comedy follows Sam, a teenager on the autism spectrum, who has decided he is ready for romance. In order to start dating -- and hopefully find love -- Sam will need to be more independent, which also sends his mother (Jennifer Jason Leigh) on her own life-changing path. She and the rest of Sam's family, including a scrappy sister and a father seeking a better understanding of his son, must adjust to change and explore what it means to be "normal."

The R-Word (host a screening)

Filmmaker Amanda Lukoff grew up advocating for her sister Gabrielle, especially whenever she heard the word retard(ed). With The R-Word, she unravels the history and lasting effects of this word through the lens of the sibling experience, captivating animation sequences, and self-advocates speaking truth-to-power - ultimately making the case for why the conversation surrounding people with intellectual and developmental disabilities needs to change. Visit the film's website for more information or to host a screening.

Videos Interviews at Oregon State Hospital

When multiple patients, family members and staff members raised increasingly urgent concerns about deteriorating conditions at Oregon State Hospital (OSH), Disability Rights Oregon (DRO) brought video equipment to gather stories. The interviews took place between July 15 to September 7, 2022 at both the Salem and Junction City campuses of OSH. Watch online.

Crip Camp (Netflix)

A groundbreaking summer camp for teens with disabilities proves so inspiring that a group of its alumni join the radical disability rights movement to advocate for historic legislation changes.

Love on the Spectrum (Netflix)

Seven young adults on the autism spectrum dive headfirst into the dating pool, exploring the unpredictable world of love and relationships.

The Champions (Amazon Prime)

After a series of missteps, a former minor-league basketball coach (Woody Harrelson) is ordered by the court to manage a team of players with intellectual disabilities. He soon realizes that despite his doubts, together, this team can go further than they ever imagined.

Down for Love (Netflix)

The New Zealand reality series follows 10 people with Down syndrome as they go on dates to find love.

Born This Way (Netflix)

Young adults born with Down syndrome pursue their passions while defying society’s expectations.

Employable Me (Netflix)

Employable Me follows people with neuro diverse conditions as they search for meaningful employment. This uplifting, warm and insightful series draws on experts to uncover people's hidden skills. The series looks beyond first impressions to reveal there's always more than meets the eye.

The Real Rain Man (Netflix)

A profile of Kim Peek, the inspiration for the character in the Oscar-winning film "Rain Man." Neuroscientists attempt to understand his mixture of disability and brilliance.

What to read

Seeing Autism: Connecting Through Understanding (by Barbara Avila)

Seeing Autism guides professionals, community members, significant others, and parents to create environments that facilitate and allow people with Autism to join in partnerships.

Underestimated: An Autism Miracle (by JB Handley & Jamison Handley)

J.B. Handley and his teenage son Jamison tell the remarkable story of Jamison’s journey to find a method of communication that allowed him to show the world that he was a brilliant, wise, generous, and complex individual who had been misunderstood and underestimated by everyone in his life.

One for All (by Lillie Laincoff)

One for All is a retelling of The Three Musketeers, in which a girl with a chronic illness trains as a Musketeer and uncovers secrets, sisterhood, and self-love.

Against Technoableism (by Ashley Shaw)

Against Technoableism challenges what we think we know about disability, and argues that people with disabilities are the real experts when it comes to technology and disability.

Girl Storm, A memoir of chaos, humor, & resilience in the path of profound autism (by Peg Kerswell)

Armed with just a dark sense of humor and a steady supply of respitinis, a new mother struggles to stay afloat amid the emotional turbulence and violent chaos caused by her daughter’s profound autism.

The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism (by Naoki Higashida)

Naoki Higashida is a very smart, very self-aware, and very charming thirteen-year-old boy with autism who demonstrates how an autistic mind thinks, feels, perceives, and responds in ways few of us can imagine.

The Real Rain Man (by Fran Peek)

The Real Rain Man portrays the fascinating life and multiple gifts of a one-of-a-kind mental giant, Kim Peek.

Being Heumann (by Judith Heumann)

A story of fighting to belong in a world that wasn't built for all of us and of one woman's activism. From the streets of Brooklyn and San Francisco to inside the halls of Washington, Being Heumann recounts Judy Heumann's lifelong battle to achieve respect, acceptance and inclusion in society.

Nothing About Us Without Us: Disability Oppression and Empowerment (by James Charlton)

Nothing About Us Without Us expresses the conviction of people with disabilities that they know what is best for them. Charlton's combination of personal involvement and theoretical awareness assures greater understanding of the disability rights movement.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time (by Mark Haddon)

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow. This improbable story of Christopher's quest to investigate the suspicious death of a neighborhood dog makes for one of the most captivating, unusual and widely heralded novels in recent years. Find it on Amazon.

Thinking in Pictures (by Temple Grandin)

In this unprecedented book, Grandin writes from the dual perspectives of a scientist and a  person with autism. She tells us how she managed to breach the boundaries of autism to function in the outside world. What emerges is the document of an extraordinary human being, one who gracefully bridges the gulf between her condition and our own while shedding light on our common identity.

How Can I Talk If My Lips Don't Move: Inside My Autistic Mind (by Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay)

When he was three years old, Tito was diagnosed as autistic, but his remarkable mother, Soma, determined that he would overcome the problem by teaching him to read and write. The result was that between the ages of eight and 11 he wrote stories and poems of exquisite beauty, which Dr. Oliver Sacks called amazing and shocking. Their eloquence gave lie to all our assumptions about autism.

Here Tito goes even further and writes of how the autistic mind works, how it views the outside world and the normal people he deals with daily, how he tells his stories to the mirror and hears stories back, how sounds become colors, how beauty fills his mind and heart. With this work, Tito whom Portia Iversen, co-founder of Cure Autism Now, has described as a window into autism such as the world has never seen gives the world a beacon of hope. For if he can do it, why can't others? More on Good Reads.

It Was Supposed to Be Sunny (by Samantha Cotterill)

A perfectly planned birthday party goes awry in this gentle story about adapting to the unexpected, written for kids on the autism spectrum and called “brilliant” and “engaging” by autism specialist Tony Attwood

Laila feels like her sparkly sunshine birthday celebration is on the brink of ruin when it starts to storm. Then, just as she starts feeling okay with moving her party indoors, an accident with her cake makes her want to call the whole thing off. But with the help of her mom and a little alone time with her service dog, she knows she can handle this.

Changes in routine can be hard for any kid, but especially for kids on the autism spectrum. Samantha Cotterill's fourth book in the Little Senses series provides gentle guidance along with adorable illustrations to help every kid navigate schedule changes and overwhelming social situations.

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