Influence by Michael and Meredith Bergman


I am taking a modern poetry class online, ModPo, and a young man with autism, Dan Bergman, was part of the latest discussion.  I worked with autistic students as part of my career as a speech therapist, and I was very happy to meet Dan virtually. He was live and on camera with Al Filreis.  Dan is nonverbal, but made wonderful and insightful contributions to the group discussion with the help of his father and assisted technology.  I wanted to know more about him.  It turns out his father and mother made a film (fictional) which I found really fascinating about two nonverbal autistic young adults on a first and second date who need to rely on the help of parents to communicate.  You can read about the film and see a clip here:  If interested, the film is on youtube:  The film is a little over an hour long.  I thought it was very fascinating because it raises lots of interesting issues about communication. JNaz, your post about Aeon’s animated story of Gregory Blackstock and his art is a serendipitous companion to this film, Influence. The Blackstock animation definitely made me smile!

9 comments on “Influence by Michael and Meredith Bergman”

  1. Barbara, You are so cool – I’ve hardly been on ModPo at all this last month, so I’m glad you are there! And Dan B is one cool cat – love that you dug into some more info about him and am eager to watch the film — will report back 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dan B is one cool cat. Watching him emerge has been one of the great pleasures of ModPo. Did you know he gave a commencement speech at his graduation from Harvard? And was featured on some mainstream morning show, with Jane Pauly? My favorite, by far, is the video he did for MOMA.

      I am so, so glad you are wandering ModPo, Barbara. Much like Borkali, I have been barely present this year, but knowing you are there makes me smile.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Al did talk a bit about Dan, and I also tried to find out more about him via google. I do know about his Harvard accomplishments. I will definitely watch the video you posted. Thanks! ModPo is lots of fun even though I only have energy to wade and not dive into the curriculum. I’m learning so much more than how to read poetry. I think Al is an amazing example of teaching genius. He loves his topic and, more importantly, he equally loves his students!

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  2. Assisted spelling is still controversial, I think, although a research article I found seemed to say it cannot be totally dismissed. Is the assistant assisting or directing?–that has always been the issue. I think this is a broad question that can be asked in lots of communication situations–especially if a power dynamic is at play. Projection is powerful, especially when it is unconscious. It can interfere with our best intentions. I thought the film highlighted this dilemma. Glad you found it interesting.

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  3. Finally got a chance to watch this, Barbara, and so glad I did. There is a single line that has stuck with me, something that was said about thinking. When talking about thinking, who was thinking/spelling, were they thinking, one of the adults says something like ” of course you are thinking, you were thinking before you learned to spell” and the response was “not in words.” A very powerful statement that, one which reminds me that not everyone processes, describes, ponders the world using the same set of tools. If that makes any sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your reply. In reading it, I think the film pushed our reflections in many of the same directions. Communication is so complex. There are so many nuances, some conscious and some unconscious. There is lots to ponder.


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