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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Refrigerator Mothers.

Absolutely heartbreaking movie about the emotional havoc caused by 'The Refrigerator Mother' theory of Autism . It's 54 minutes, but well worth watching. I sobbed, but I do that, at the terrible unfairness of it all. The legacy these women still endure (as do all the family members) as a result  of Bruno Bettelheim's awful ideas is wrenching to watch.  We can only wonder at the trauma their autistic children experienced during the period of their separation and institutionalisation.

This is a story that needs telling due to the enormously important lessons therein.

Refrigerator Mothers | Watch the Documentary Film Free Online | SnagFilms


  1. Just had a quick look at the beginning of this documentary. Wow! Very interesting and extremely sad.

    One of the mum's was looking at the Santa photos of her son and there was eye contact for the first couple of years and for the 3rd and 4th years he was sitting on Santa's lap comfortably then she stated that when he was about 5 years old the photo showed his eyes were glazed and also he was pulling away from Santa, she also said he would stare straight past her. This pulls at my heartstrings.

    My son used to stare straight past me especially when I would bath him when he was a baby. I would lay him down in the shallow water and he would look up and straight past me over my shoulder. Sometimes I would look behind me to see if anyone was there but there was nothing. His eye contact is so much better now thanks heaps to early intervention but sometimes when he is overwhelmed you can see the eyes go blank.

    Another mother commented that her child didn't like to be cuddled when upset and that is exactly like my son.

    This documentary has made me realise how lucky I am that we live in today's society because I'm sure I would have been considered a "refrigerator mother" based on these first couple of parent's stories. My son is not as severely impacted by his autism as these families are and I definitely think Early Intervention helped immensely.

    How horrible for those poor mums living in the 50's and 60's.

    Very sad indeed!

  2. Truly terrible Penny.
    I know what you mean about the comforting thing. Harri seems to want comfort but as soon as I instinctively go to hug him he pulls away. I find that quite difficult, although I know it's nothing personal, it still is hard to go against your maternal wiring to physically soothe your distressed child.