Free presentation of 'Wretches and Jabberers' raises awareness of autism

Thursday, October 13, 2011 | 6:23 p.m. CDT; updated 6:35 p.m. CDT, Thursday, October 13, 2011

COLUMBIA — Columbia residents packed the 130-seat theater at Ragtag Cinema on Tuesday to watch “Wretches and Jabberers,” a documentary about two men who travel abroad to change the perception of people with autism.

The film was presented by Services for Independent Living in honor of National Disability Awareness Month.

"This is our second year, and we’re very excited about it," said Aimee Wehmeier, executive director of the organization.

"It is a great way for those with autism to be involved in the community, and it is a great partnership with Ragtag Cinema."

Attendees were invited to stay after the showing for a brief question-and-answer session with a panel of adults and youth who have autism or autistic family members.

The event was free to the public, and Services for Independent Living provided free rides for those who needed accessible transportation.

Services For Independent Living paired with Ragtag Cinema last year for a showing of  "Monica and David," a movie about couples with developmental disabilities. Wehmeier said Tuesday’s turnout was better than last year.

“We actually had difficulty fitting everyone in at the last minute,” Wehmeier said.

She hopes to continue the event next year.

“I believe the event was very successful based on the number of people who attended, the positive response from viewers and the thoughtful questions that were asked of panelists,” Wehmeier said.

Services for Independent Living will also recognize National Disability Awareness Month with a brown bag lunch on Oct. 28. The event will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Friends Room at the Columbia Public Library, 100 W. Broadway St.

People Advocating for the Voice of Equality will present at noon. A panel of three to four individuals with disabilities will talk about what it means to have a disability and some of the barriers they encounter.

Kathy Schauwecker, Services for Independent Living program coordinator, said the goal is to break down barriers that exist against people with disabilities.


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