Special Education

Film Now Aimed at Iraqi Audience

By Christina A. Samuels — September 08, 2008 1 min read
BRIC ARCHIVE

In 2007, former photojournalist Dan Habib released a documentary about his son Samuel, an 8-year-old with cerebral palsy, and his family’s unflagging efforts to make sure that Samuel was a full participant in home and school life.

Now, the Portland, Ore.-based Mercy Corps has taken the documentary, “Including Samuel,” and translated it into Arabic. They want the film to expand the horizons of youths with disabilities in Iraq.

Mercy Corps “sees the film as something that has enough common denominators,” said Mr. Habib, who left the Concord Monitor newspaper this year to become a filmmaker-in-residence at the University of New Hampshire in Durham’s Institute on Disability. “It’s really about seeing disability in a totally different light.”

Mr. Habib started keeping a film diary of his family at a doctor’s suggestion, when his son was 4. Over time, the project grew to involve more than 60 hours of video and 12,000 still photographs, documenting the family at home and at school.

In addition to Samuel, a wide-eyed boy with a quick laugh, the film features the perspectives of his brother, Isaiah, now 12; his mother, Betsy; and a host of teachers and school friends. Mr. Habib also included vignettes from four other children and adults with disabilities, all of whom had found their own ways to cope with a sometimes insensitive public.

Mr. Habib said his original goal was to influence the public in New Hampshire, where the family lives. But “Including Samuel” has had a much broader life, riveting audiences at education conferences and film festivals focusing on disabilities.

It was a viewer at a film festival who referred the documentary to Tiana Tozer, a Mercy Corps Iraq program manager. Ms. Tozer, who works on women’s and disability rights in the country, says people with disabilities are often kept out of sight in the country.

The film depicts Samuel using devices that may be rare in Iraq, such as specialized wheelchairs and devices that speak when he presses a button. But the goal is less about gleaning the specifics from his life, said the Mercy Corps program director.

“It’s important that Iraqis with disabilities learn to self-advocate,” Ms. Tozer said. “I’m trying to expose them to new ideas and the possibilities.”

A version of this article appeared in the September 10, 2008 edition of Education Week

Events

Classroom Technology Webinar Making Big Technology Decisions: Advice for District Leaders, Principals, and Teachers
Educators at all levels make decisions that can have a huge impact on students. That’s especially true when it comes to the use of technology, which was activated like never before to help students learn
Professional Development Webinar Expand Digital Learning by Expanding Teacher Training
This discussion will examine how things have changed and offer guidance on smart, cost-effective ways to expand digital learning efforts and train teachers to maximize the use of new technologies for learning.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
The Social-Emotional Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on American Schoolchildren
Hear new findings from an analysis of our 300 million student survey responses along with district leaders on new trends in student SEL.
Content provided by Panorama

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Special Education Opinion Five Teacher-Recommended Strategies to Support Students With Learning Differences
Four educators share strategies for supporting students with learning differences, including utilizing "wait time" and relationship building.
11 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty
Special Education The Pandemic Made It Harder to Spot Students With Disabilities. Now Schools Must Catch Up
After more than a year of disruption for all students, the pressure's on to find those in need of special education and provide services.
13 min read
Aikin listens to her eight-year-old son, Carter, as he reads in the family’s home in Katy, TX, on Thursday, July 8, 2021. Carter has dyslexia and Aikin could not help but smile at the improvement in his fluency as he read out loud.
Kanisha Aikin listens to her 8-year-old son, Carter, who has dyslexia, as he reads aloud in the family’s home in Katy, Texas.
Annie Mulligan for Education Week
Special Education What Employers Can Teach Schools About Neurodiversity
The benefits of neurodiversity have gained traction in business, but college and career support for students with disabilities falls short.
8 min read
Special Education The Challenge of Teaching Students With Visual Disabilities From Afar
Teachers of students with visual disabilities struggle to provide 3-D instruction in a two-dimensional remote learning environment.
Katie Livingstone
5 min read
Neal McKenzie
Neal McKenzie, an assistive technology specialist, works with a student who has a visual impairment in Sonoma County, Calif.<br/>
Courtesy Photo