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Brief Film Synopsis:
Parents of a boy on the autism spectrum form a competitive swim team, recruiting other teens on the spectrum and training them with high expectations and zero pity. Swim Team chronicles the extraordinary rise of three diverse young athletes, capturing a moving quest for inclusion, independence and a life that feels winning.
When people ask me how I found the story of SWIM TEAM, I say it found me. Children with developmental disabilities are routinely excluded from community activities, often as early as preschool. Being told "no," - your child can't be in the regular class, your child wont keep up in little league, your child isn't going to college - is something families caring for children with disabilities hear often. Since children on the spectrum are particularly prone to drowning, swimming is a crucial skill but it's not easy to find appropriate teachers and programs willing to take on an autistic child. While exploring swim lessons for my own children, I stumbled upon the Jersey Hammerheads, an all-autistic team in formation and I was immediately struck by the energy and optimism of the families that were coming together to form the team. Some of the kids were teenagers and had never been on a sports team before. And some couldn't yet swim. With the Hammerheads families, I had found a group of parents who refused to take no for an answer. They were saying YES and as a community, it was galvanizing for them. As a mother, I was so personally inspired by what they hoped to accomplish, I knew I had to share their story. I hope my film provides inspiration for families everywhere raising children with unanticipated challenges.[Source: Lara Stolman, Press Kit]
Southern Circuit screenings are funded in part by a grant from South Arts, a regional arts organization, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.
© Longleaf Studios 2014