Monday, June 2, 2014

Certain Proof: A Question of Worth (Changing the mindset---Kids shouldn't have to 'earn' inclusion)

Over the weekend, I watched a wonderful movie, Certain Proof: A Question of Worth.
I watched it, cried, and then watched it again the next day. This was an awesome experience--the best movies are those that make you dwell on lines, scenes, people the next days and weeks.  This was one!

Rather than writing up my own synopsis, I found one online from IMDb:   

 "Certain Proof: A Question of Worth" is a feature documentary about three children living with significant communication and physical disabilities, who struggle against the public schools in an emotional battle to prove their worth.
     Over the course of two and a half years, "Certain Proof" follows the lives of Josh, Colin and Kay, three children with cerebral palsy. Despite multiple disabilities, they fight to prove that they are able to learn and deserve to be taught. Colin finds "No Child Left Behind" has exceptions; Kay combats harsh stereotypes inside middle school; and Josh faces continual doubt that he can learn at all. They and their families dare to hope in a striking testament to the complexity of the human spirit." 

The purpose of this blog entry is to encourage any of you who work with children with severe physical disabilities to purchase or rent this movie and watch it.  Unfortunately, it's not available on Netflix, but I bought it through iTunes.

   The movie is about hope and determination--on the part of the kids and parents.  Watching this forced me to see life through their eyes--and then think about what I need to change in myself (my thoughts, expectations, practice) when working with children with significant communication difficulties.

Here are links to purchase:

From the Certain Proof website 

From iTunes (this is what I did)
     You can rent or buy

One of the stars, Kay, offers poignant insights about her thoughts, dreams, and life as a teen with a disability.  

Another child, Josh, visits Karen Erikson and through her motivating toys, books, manner, and fun shows his mom that he possesses wit, charm, and a desire to communicate that is hidden from his teachers at school

The movie has clips such as this---in the adult's desire for success, hand-over-hand activities.  The question becomes who is actually communicating here?

 Which picture works for you?
The one on the right of Kay and her friends in class?

or the one below in a more restricted setting?.

I loved this movie---it helped me view life both from the eyes of the parents, and from a child's perspective (especially Kay who was more articulate than the other two children).

  I also loved it from the point of view of a speech pathologist---I constantly asked myself how I could make the children's communication systems more effective.  Auditory scanning? Word prediction? Eye gaze?  These all crossed my mind. It's hard to second guess the professionals here in the movie, but there were examples of different systems to watch, and then ponder.

So if you love your job like I do, head over to iTunes or the Certain Proof website and make a purchase. You won't be disappointed.



  1. Sounds great! Thanks for the recommendation!

  2. Ruth, Kay's mom here. Just wanted your readers to know that Kay just completed her Freshman year at NC State. Straight "A"s. She continues to change people's perceptions and expectations of individuals with significant communication and mobility challenges.

    1. Thank you for the update. That's wonderful news about Kay!!! I know you are proud of her! What is she majoring in?

  3. Political Science of course. She wants to change the world for people with disabilities.

  4. Thanks for this detailed review. I loved working with students using alternative and augmentative communication systems when I was an SLP, so I think I'd like the film.

    1. Thank you for your nice comment. I think all SLPs who work with children would like this. This movie lends itself to thoughtful discussion about inclusion, communication systems, reinforcing activities, and many other topics. I've thought about it constantly since viewing it.