The Power of a Mother’s Love for her Disabled Child: Animated Short “Ian” is Changing Perceptions about Disabilities

Ian a film about playground inclusion

“Ian” is a must-watch film for all students and parents.

When Sheila Graschinsky saw how children treated her disabled son she became inspired to change perceptions about those with disabilities. Her son, Ian, can only talk with the help of a machine and was teased daily when he visited his rehabilitation center by children from a nearby school.

Sheila went to the school to confront the bullying and discovered the school had no tools to teach the children that bullying is wrong. Sheila wrote a book simply titled “Ian” published by Penguin about her son. Handing out books at schools didn’t have the widespread effect she wanted so she helped produce a short animated film titled “Ian,” that seeks to raise awareness about bullying suffered by children with motor and neurological disabilities.

“Ian,” written by Gastón Gorali, directed by Abel Goldfarb and produced by Academy Award winner Juan José Campanella and Fundación Ian, premiered at Cannes in 2018. Fundación Ian is a nonprofit founded by Ian’s mom Sheila, whose mission is to combat the lack of information and knowledge that often lead people with disabilities to be bullied and isolated.

The Art or Autism is proud to feature this beautiful and inspired film which features stop-gap animation and CGI. There is no dialogue so this film can be seen by those of all languages. “Ian” evokes the pain of separation and bullying from classmates and the joy of finally being included and accepted. Real-life photos of Sheila’s son being included on the playground are shown at the end of the film.

“Ian” has won many accolades including Best Animation at the LA Shorts Animation Film Festival in 2018. It was released simultaneously by all the major children’s networks in Latin America.

Kudos to Sheila Graschinsky who is making a difference for people with disabilities around the world.

3 Comments

  • Thank you most deeply, for possibly the most powerful, insightful, sensitive, emotionally honest, and humanely valuable films ever made, without exception.
    As I identify with many of the struggles and changes that Ian goes through, I can feel the mother’s loving heart beating strongly, and carrying the story forward. She manifests an unfailing belief that love will find a way to break down the barriers that prevent her son from engaging life to his fullest ability.
    One mother’s love may not change the reality around her and her child right away, but think of what a million mothers’ hearts united by love and wisdom can do.

  • I had not realised that Ian was a book first.

    It would have been one of those colourful picture books that won a children’s or reader’s or people’s award.

    Film can and does touch so many people – Ian touched me in late December – early January when Ellen Seidman introduced the film to her audience/viewership.

    Yes, Steve, the loving heart of the mother does put the story forward.

    And the people who are not born yet – the people who grow up with Ian.

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