Frontline Initiative Complex Needs

Resources for Your Summer Reading (or Viewing) List

As Good as it Gets

This movie, available on videocassette, stars Jack Nicholson as Melvin Udall, a romance novelist who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder and very bad manners. Helen Hunt won an Oscar for best actress for playing Udall’s love interest, Carol Connelly, a waitress at the local cafe. Greg Kinnear plays Simon Nye, Udall’s ill-fated neighbor. These three characters come together, separate, and come together again throughout the movie in various circumstances, both tragic and comic. Like most Hollywood movies, you have to set your skepticism aside about how Udall ever got his best-selling romantic prose into the hands of an agent who would work with him, but some other aspects of the movie ring true.

DSP points to ponder while watching — Why do people work so much harder when they have a reason to? Why do real relationships have so much more power than medical or other professional advice? Try to note all the things Udall starts to do differently once he falls in love.

A Special Kind of Hero

by Chris Burke and Jo Beth McDaniel

We know Chris Burke from his role as Corky Thatcher the star of the television show, Life Goes On. Chris was born in 1965 with Down syndrome. Despite the advice of his doctors, his parents decided to raise him at home. In this autobiography, Chris describes how his interest in acting, which began at age 5, became a dream and then a reality as he took acting classes and moved into adolescence and adulthood. If you enjoyed Life Goes On, you will enjoy this story. This book is currently only sold as a Barnes & Noble bargain book for $3.98 and may be purchased at some of their stores. Another source to check out is your local library.

She’s Come Undone

by Wally Lamb

This novel is a somewhat sad, but very thought-provoking look inside the world of Dolores, the main character. Dolores experiences a very agonizing and painful coming of age by dealing with issues of extreme obesity, as well as issues of abuse and mental health. What is most heart-wrenching about this story is that many of the people who have contact with Dolores do nothing to show their care or concern for her situation. Dolores has great potential for success, with a tough grittiness that at first seems unappealing, but can later be seen as an enormous asset to her survival in a world that can sometimes be cruel and uncaring. By standing in Dolores’ shoes, DSPs who work with youth and young adults with or without disabilities can gain tremendous perspective on how they can support individuals to find their gifts, talents, and strengths and to help them feel welcomed and valued in the world. This novel is published by Washington Square Press and can be purchased at most bookstores for $14 in trade paper format. Its ISBN is 0671003755.

The Other Sister

In this uplifting, romantic comedy, 24-year-old Carla Tate (Juliette Lewis), a person with a developmental disability returns home to live with her parents Elizabeth (Diane Keaton) and Radley (Tom Skerritt) after she graduates from a special education program at a private boarding school. Carla is convinced that she has the capacity to live a more independent life. She successfully finds a job, makes new friends, and wants to live alone in an apartment despite her mom’s many objections and overprotective instincts. Carla meets Danny (Giovanni Ribisi) and the two of them embark on a journey to experience many of life’s tough challenges and to find answers to some of life’s questions. Together they prove that each person is unique, that life can be fun, challenging, and mysterious, and that even overprotective parents can learn to appreciate and accept their adult children no matter what path they choose. This film will be available on videocassette September 7, 1999.

DSP Points to Ponder while viewing — How are your thoughts and feelings regarding relationships, love, and sexuality different or similar to Carla and Danny’s friends and family members, and how do your perspectives influence those to whom you provide supports? How can individuals, teams, and the organization modify their policies and practices to be more supportive of individuals in making choices that better meet their needs and dreams?