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24/7 cover photo

24/7 2005


Distributed by Distributed by Fanlight Productions, 32 Court St., 21st Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201; 800-876-1710
Produced by Produced by Fanlight Productions
Directed by Directed by Mary A.C. Fallon and Daniel Priest
VHS, color, 88 min.

College - Adult
Japan, Popular Culture, Music Trade, Singers

Date Entered: 10/27/2006

ALA Notable:
Reviewed by: Reviewed by Cindi Tysick, University at Buffalo Libraries, State University of New York at Buffalo

24/7 follows two families at different stages of caregiving for their disabled children. The Holl’s are exhausted middle-aged parents caring for their teenaged disabled daughter while trying to raise her younger sister in as “normal” an environment as possible. The Kessler’s have had to fight for the right to care for their 45 year-old autistic son since he was a young man. Both families are emotionally, physically, and most importantly financially drained. This documentary follows their lives as they negotiate the beauracracy that is social services and social security disability in order to raise their children in a compassionate and respectful home life.

Legal hurdles, such as the definition and implications of “autistic,” are the major focus of this documentary. It successfully highlights the plight of parents looking for simple, basic, at-home care for their children so that they can work outside of the home and support their families. In both cases parents have had to make the agonizing decision whether or not to quit a job to stay at home and care for their child 24/7 because government (social) agencies have been reluctant to offer aid. The Kessler’s recall over twenty years of battles with state agencies to get their son, Stuart, a part-time caregiver. Now in their seventies and eighties the Kesslers are once again advocating for Stuart as the state threatens to cut his care budget. The Holls have been waiting since 2001 for state assistance while keeping their jobs, working out a revolving schedule to take care of their daughter Megan, and raising their other child. What is resoundingly clear is that both families need assistance from their state or federal government that is permanent so that they can get out from underneath the mounting pressures of raising a disable child alone.

The quality of the video is excellent and the volume is clear. It would have been nice to see disability statistics, disability laws, and the definition of terms spread throughout the program. At times the viewer is unsure of the organization or agency being discussed. In the end this video would serve well as a “case-study” exercise for courses in social work, health sciences, and law.