Monica & David explores the marriage of two adults with Down Syndrome and the family who strives to support their needs. Monica and David are blissfully in love and want what other adults have—an independent life. Full of humor, romance and everyday family drama, the film uses intimate fly-on-the wall footage to reveal the complexity of their story. While Monica and David are capable beyond expectations, their parents, aware of mainstream rejection of adults with intellectual disabilities, have trouble letting go.
Historically, people with developmental and intellectual disabilities have experienced a life characterized by invisibility, exclusion from community, prescribed activities and severely diminished roles in society. Until recently, normal practice involved placing people with disabilities into institutions (“State Schools”) - massive clinical group homes, which subjected residents to various levels of over-medication, physical and emotional abuse, absence of stimulation and profound neglect. Lack of knowledge about disabilities propelled a generalized public fear of pronounced difference and created misinformation about what people with disabilities both desire and are capable of.
Over the past 40 years, increased efforts have been made, often through the work of small groups, families and individuals, to shift the culture from one of deficit to one of capacity - celebrating people’s unique gifts as contributions akin to the everyday person. Monica & David introduces us to two highly capable individuals with disabilities and their forward thinking families who support their inspiring quest for a whole, fulfilling life. In understanding the magnitude of this tremendous shift, it is important to start at the beginning. In Pre-Lesson 1, students are introduced to this important historical context.