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Transition Focus Of New Documentary On PBS

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A documentary following a special-education teacher as she prepares her students with autism to leave high school and enter adult life is set for its national television debut.

The film “Best Kept Secret” examines the transition process through the eyes of teacher Janet Mino and her six students at John F. Kennedy High School in Newark, N.J. over the year-and-a-half prior to their graduation in the spring of 2012.

Teaching at an inner-city public school where students’ options after aging out are limited, Mino is determined to find opportunities for her students to succeed in the community so that they don’t become homebound, institutionalized or homeless after graduating.

Central to the story are Erik, the most high-functioning member of the class who dreams of working at Burger King; Quran whose father worries that the emphasis on education at school means he is not spending enough time learning basic life skills; and Robert who struggles with behavior and has a difficult home life leading him to miss class often.

Mino investigates everything from a jobs program and recreation center to a medical daycare and a local fast-food restaurant in hopes of opening doors for her students.

“This is a personal story about some young men who live with (autism) and their very dedicated teacher in one remarkable school. It’s about the struggles they face beyond the confines of that school,” said Samantha Buck, the film’s director, who indicated that she was inspired to tell a story about how autism affects those from minority and less-financially-secure backgrounds.

“Best Kept Secret” premieres Friday at theaters in New York and Los Angeles and will be broadcast nationally on PBS’ POV series Sept. 23 at 10 p.m. ET.

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Comments (6 Responses)

  1. PATRICIA BUERE says:

    I’m very interested in watching the moviie but I don’t live in the states, what can I do?

  2. Whitney says:

    It states that are not meeting needs of the individuals are not being focus on. Like Texas or Missisippi for instance. Not all states are equal when it comes to disabilities. So do what you have to. Push for equal services in the states and have the national government provide them.

  3. Electric_Pink says:

    I look forward to seeing this documentary on 9/23.

    @Patricia Buere, try finding it on the PBS Website for viewing, or you may be able to purchase it on DVD.

  4. Mrs.T says:

    I thoroughly appreciated “Neurotypical,” and I am looking forward to seeing this new film. Thank you, PBS, for supporting these filmmakers.

  5. Lynne Keller says:

    It is so important that information like this gets out to the public and raises awareness of the potential of individuals with disabilities to make contributions to their communities and to society as a whole.

  6. james anastos says:

    being disabled has its ups and downs and it comes with a lot of challenges as well and working around the system is not easy because you have to look beond what they see you as and work from there so i had to work at my disability for many years and i have learned a lot in my 40 years of liveing its not easy but if you try you can do it it might take some time for some others like it did for me but i had to fight to get to where i
    did it took me several years but i managed to make it work on my be half.

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