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Mark Utter: “I am in here.” – A Facilitated Communication Documentary

by on January 21, 2014
 

For more information about the movie, or to purchase the “I am in here.” DVD, click here.

Mark Utter’s Story

49 year old Mark Utter would probably be diagnosed today as autistic, although no one is quite sure what his original diagnosis as a child was. Many children born in the 1960s with similar neurological conditions were labeled mentally retarded. But, since discovering his “voice” through the use of Facilitated Communication (FC), he has clearly demonstrated his intelligence, wit, and creativity, which went unrecognized for years.

Mark Utter and Emily Anderson

Mark Utter and Emily Anderson

Mark can speak a few words but communicates much more effectively, and eloquently, using Facilitated Communication supported typing. His facilitator, Emily Anderson, sits patiently by his side, gently touching his elbow and occasionally offering him verbal encouragement.

Anderson is director of creative performance and cultural access at VSA Vermont, a nonprofit arts and educational organization for Vermonters with disabilities. For the last seven years, she’s been meeting with Mark about once a week for several hours of FC dialogue.

Initially Mark found “Supported Typing” tediously hard and saw little use for it. Until Anderson asked him to write something for a play she was working on. Creating text for this project inspired him to tell his own story. Emily previously had worked with Larry Bissonnette, of the documentary Wretches and Jabberers and had been trained in this form of alternative communication.

“Do you want to know what it’s like to be thought of as stupid all your life? I have lived that story so I feel obligated, now that I have access to communication, to tell the world what it feels like to be misunderstood in this manner. This is not because I am mad at anyone or wish things were ever different for me. I love who I am and wish others could share that.”

With that goal in mind, Mark spent more than five years writing his story letter by letter, revising it, and planning to film it. Mark and Emily Anderson ran a Kickstarter campaign that brought awareness to this life changing project and raised $25,000 to help with production costs.

The end result was the film, "I am in here." A View of My Daily Life with Good Suggestions from my Intelligent Mind, which humorously reveals Mark’s unique observations of our world. The premise is a typical day in his life filled with communication barriers, social obstacles and Mark’s wry observations as he negotiates them.

We are proud to have Mark Utter and Emily Anderson’s permission to present the movie I am in here. in its entirety. Please enjoy this thought-provoking and witty look at the life of a nonverbal autistic who overcame his disability and found his voice through Facilitated Communication.

Purchase the DVD

For more information about the movie, or to purchase the “I am in here.” DVD, click here.