Introduction: Growing Up Different (03:40)
Alan Alda introduces the children and their unique challenges that he will meet over the course of this film. Alda visits a picnic in La Joya, California, where children and adults with Williams syndrome have gathered. He meets scientist Ursula Belugi, who has dedicated her research to understanding Williams syndrome.
Understanding Williams Syndrome (10:07)
Alda witnesses Belugi and other researchers conduct tests with individuals with Williams syndrome to better understand how it affects their lives. The cause of Williams syndrome is a band of 25 missing genes in one chromosome. The study of Williams syndrome may lead to insights into the impact of genetics on sociability.
Breaking the Shell (05:54)
Tariq is a two and a half year old child who was diagnosed with autism. Autism affects as much as 1 in every 800 children, and often includes learning disabilities. Geraldine Dawson explains conditions on the autism spectrum, and how they are managed.
Eye Contact and Imitation (07:31)
Psychologist Andy Meltsoft demonstrates the behavioral differences of autistic and non-autistic infants through simple play exercises. Difficulty seeing others as beings like themselves may be at the root of the difficulties people with autism face. Autism researcher Steven Dager explains the neurological differences of autistic brains.
Each Sound is a Present (09:43)
Kelly Flinn is a seven year old child who suffers from profound deafness; she undergoes surgery to install a cochlear implant to help her hear. Alda explains how cochlear implants substitute for damaged or absent hearing structures. He visits a class for hearing impaired children to understand how advancements in hearing technology have helped deaf children learn to speak.
Controversy of Cochlear Implants (04:46)
Audiologist Marilyn Nealt helps the seven year old Timothy test and tune up his cochlear implant. Cochlear implants were initially quite controversial in the deaf community, but have since found wider acceptance.
Finding Her Voice (11:41)
Kara Johansen is unable to speak due to her cerebral palsy, but is able to communicate with her family and friends with the help of a special letter board. Kara's sister Melinda describes her bond with her sister and the difficulty of communication. Alda visits Kara to learn about the new electronic system she uses to talk.
Credits: Growing Up Different (00:47)
Credits: Growing Up Different
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