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Teacher of Patience 2022


Distributed by Good Docs
Produced by Carmen Vincent and Heidi Reinberg
Directed by Carmen Vincent
Streaming, 28 mins

General Adult
Disabilities; Special Education; Teacher Training

Date Entered: 11/01/2023

Reviewed by Giovanna Colosi, Librarian for the School of Education, Subject Instruction Lead, Syracuse University

Thomas Felter, the father of Emily a young person with Down Syndrome, has tailored a training for first responders titled "Emily Talk", emphasizing the significance of exercising patience in their interactions with individuals with disabilities; he himself is a first responder. Upon hearing numerous accounts of first responders making rash decisions and forming judgments regarding individuals with disabilities, resulting in avoidable tragedies like the death of Ethan Saylor, who like Emily had down Syndrome, Tom Felter became motivated to take action.

This short 30-minute documentary shows some of that training, but more importantly, it shows Emily in her day-to-day interactions with her family, living, loving, and sometimes using pretty colorful language. She is portrayed in the film, not as someone to pity, but as someone who has a multifaceted personality, a sense of humor, and who has good days and bad days- like all of us.

A notable aspect of the documentary is the family and Vincent's willingness to candidly portray challenging moments when their efforts to communicate with their daughter prove to be unsuccessful. Sometimes uncomfortable to watch, but necessary to get a full look into what it is like for the Felter's to parent Emily. We see the family use the term "Emily's Time" for when Emily wants to do something, when she wants to do it, on her own timeline. This in the disability studies field could also be referred to as crip time. And the examples shown, like her impromptu trip to Red Robin, illustrates this use of crip time.

At times it also shows that even Tom as the "expert" needs reminding on how to best interact with Emily, and to exude some patience himself. During one Emily Talk, he gets frustrated at Emily for not understanding her, and Emily's mom chimes in with "Let her be, practice what you preach."

This documentary can be an educational resource to first-responders, or anyone who would need to be able to communicate with people with disabilities, especially in emergency situations. It could also ignite thoughtful conversations about disability, inclusivity, fairness, and access in disability studies, psychology, social work, and teacher prep programs. There are a few instances of adult language. The film is appropriate for public and academic library collections.

Canadian Shorts Film Festival, 2022 Winner Award of Excellence; Prospector International Film Festival,2022 Winner Best Documentary Short; Stockholm City Film Festival, 2022 Winner Best Documentary Short

Published and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. Anyone can use these reviews, so long as they comply with the terms of the license.