Maybe it's a little known fact that Chris Cooper had a son with Cerebral Palsy. When I watched October Sky as a kid, I never knew that he an I would have such in common one day. We've both have lived in Holland and, for that reason, I know that we understand one another despite having never met. We understand one another and we understand something else that is very important: intelligence can be many things, far beyond the confines of our societies definitions.
I have no doubt in my mind that Juniper is very intelligent. She's intelligent in ways I don't even fully understand. So too are the many other human beings who are often discarded - by our societies limited views of intelligence - as having "disabilities" and "delays."
A new documentary film, called Intelligent Lives, has found a way to tell the stories of those who may have a harder time doing so on their own - not because of their own lack of intelligence, but rather because of other's lack of understanding. The film was made by Dan Habib. It is narrated by Chris Cooper and stars Micah, Naieer, and Naomie – "who challenge perceptions of intelligence as they navigate high school, college, and the workforce." Intelligent Lives "challenges what it means to be intelligent, and points to a future in which people of all abilities can fully participate in higher education, meaningful employment, and intimate relationships."
Coley and I have reserved seats at the UA Tara for a screening of this film on October 1. I look forward to watching, learning and connecting with it. I'll likely write a follow up after we see the film that you can come back and read in October, or better yet reserve your own seats or host your own screening.