The United States of Autism

in A-Z,Children,HD,Health,Specials


The United States of Autism weaves the tale of a broad spectrum of American life in all its faiths, disparities,  colors, and cultures – and the story of one man’s 40-day, 11,000 mile journey across America to find answers for his family and son. What he learns along the way changes not only his life forever, but the lives of those he meets.

If ever there were a story that embodies the heart of America, it’s the story found in individuals affected by autism and their families.  Autism is a bio-neurological developmental disability that generally appears before the age of 3, and is one of the fastest growing developmental disabilities in the United States, affecting 1 to 1.5 million Americans.


LENGTH: 1 x 90′
FORMAT:  Documentary
SUPPLIER:  The Tommy Foundation
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: United States of America

The United States of Autism, co-produced by Richard Everts and Sugey Cruz-Everts, brings a new vision to the world of autism and is a film that all families living with autism can look to for answers. Interviewees come from a broad cultural spectrum from Mormon to Muslim and Hispanic to Chinese.  Each person shows how autism has shaped their world and, in many cases, made them stronger.

The film started as a small idea of two parents, Richard and Sugey, sitting around a living room table- a small project they would fund on their own to help their son, profoundly affected by autism, and the thousands of kids and individuals they knew could benefit. That idea began to grow when a friend of the family suggested a new program Pepsi Refresh Project which could provide some funding for the movie.  They entered and won. With a grant in place, the project would eventually lead to dozens upon dozens of TV interviews, newspaper articles, and radio shows around America- a success they never could have imagined in bringing their community closer together.

The Tommy Foundation

Founded in 2005 by parents of a child on the autism spectrum, The Tommy Foundation is an emerging voice for the autism movement that has garnered numerous awards including the Lancaster Red Rose
award. Today, the Foundation provides direct assistance to families, as well as trainings to hundreds of students, professionals, PhD candidates and doctors to date.

Press and Reviews:

“Richard Everts (also the director and the father of an autistic son), introduces 20 families dealing with the disorder, visited during 40 days of road travel across the country. He meets the highly verbal, troubled only in social situations. He meets the nonverbal, whose physical struggles exhaust financial and emotional resources. He meets parents displaying pain or pride, or both, about their children. The networks of such families, which rely heavily on one another for advice and comfort, should search out this modest film… Many scenes… are moving: A nonverbal teenager withholding eye contact slowly, gently touches his guest in trust and affection. Mr. Everts meets Puerto Ricans and Korean-Americans, Christians and Muslims, those with low incomes and high. All the while, passionate disputes about causes, treatment and possible recovery are noted but not refereed. That pluralism is the point. Yes, the animated opening sequence has a professional polish that the rest of the film lacks, but the documentary’s chosen angle is meaningful: The world of autism is as diverse as the nation.”  -New York Times

“Richard Everts’ The United States of Autism is a road trip, specifically an 11,000 forty-day journey in which the filmmaker crisscrossed the country to speak to individuals, families, politicians, doctors and other relevant figures about this serious issue that has reached epidemic proportions….the film delivers many profoundly emotional moments in its filmed encounters with those affected by the condition… Ultimately, the film succeeds in its admirable goal of putting a human face on a disorder that many of those who lack a personal connection to it fail to fully comprehend or, in the worst cases, tolerate.”-The Hollywood Reporter

“[Everts] interactions with the families don’t have to be long and wordy because they are honest, human, and beautifully constructed — and because Everts avoids the traps of this kind of filmmaking — insipid narration, icky empathy, lingering fadeouts, tears for the sake of tears.  What you get instead are vivid glimpses of high-functioning kids and adults, full-syndrome kids who do or don’t respond to various treatments, siblings who are coping or not…You have to admire the sheer energy and intelligence that shines through — not just the geographic pace, but the smart decision to whack the daylights out of just about every interview and leave the nubbin, whether it’s two or three minutes or two or three sentences…We see an evolution in Everts’ approach to his son — aided by a remarkable family reunion — that is subtle and unforced but deeply moving.” – Age of Autism