Learning disabilities and the perceptions of intelligence is seen is this compelling documentary “Intelligent Lives”. This award-winning film by Dan Habib follows three disabled adults – Micah, Naieer, and Naomie navigating high school, college, and the workforce.
Micah, a student at Syracuse University lives a busy social life, co-teaches at university, social media guru – with an IQ of 40.
Naieer, a talented visual artist is attending public school in Dorchester, Mass – taking general education, basketball game, all while being autistic with limited verbal language.
Naomie, who has Down Syndrome and limited speech, is employed at her very first job. She is seen as an asset in the workplace according to her colleagues.
This film aims to remove the stereotype mentality about the value of someone with learning disabilities. Habib was inspired to do a documentary after his son, Samuel, went to elementary school. Samuels teacher suggested they add “intellectual disability” to his existing diagnosis – cerebral palsy, speech disorder and mitochondrial disorder. Habib and his wife refused to accept this label as it, as it implies that:
“he couldn’t possibly be in a class alongside peers”
Habib, uses his experience in a positive way with the documentary “Including Samuel” which includes his schooling and community experience as a person with “intellectual disability”. Samual is now 18 and embarking on college journey successfully.
Habib told The Mighty:
“He’s representative of what we know about inclusive education”
There have been many questions when “Including Samuel” has been screened, such as:
But what about students who have an learning disabilities label?
Can they go to college?
Can they seek employment?
Can they get married?
Habib answers, saying:
“If viewers examine that question, I think the film will raise expectations for the potential of people with intellectual disabilities throughout our society and Internationally. The central characters in the film are the paradigm shifters who embody high expectations and possibility”