Peter Gwazdauskas, a child with Down Syndrome, attends a normal school with regular students. The documentary follows Peter and how much he has improved throughout the school year.

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Uncredited cast:
Judy Gwazdauskas ...
Herself (Peter's Mother) (uncredited)
Peter Gwazdauskas ...
Peter (uncredited)
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Peter Gwazdauskas, a child with Down Syndrome, attends a normal school with regular students. The documentary follows Peter and how much he has improved throughout the school year.

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Producer Thomas C. Goodwin's Oscar win for this was posthumous, as he died a few months prior to the award show. See more »

Connections

Followed by Graduating Peter (2001) See more »

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Inclusion in our classrooms
8 February 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The filmmakers of this movie did a great job in showing the amount of time and attention that is attributed to students who are mentally challenged and the real cost it is to the other children. I liked this movie because it is not sugar coated, as many are, in dealing with special needs children. Peter is allowed to hit and scream and act up. while the teacher has to stop what she is doing to calm him down. The injured child is supposed to learn something from this experience. I believe it is tolerance. I have worked in Special Education for many years and taken care of and loved some of these special kids. I had an aunt that passed away a short time ago at the age of 80, who had the mind of a 4 year old. She was one of the greatest people I have ever known. She would always say, "I'm as happy as I want to be". I believe, as many teachers do, that inclusion is non-productive for these children and children who are not special. The idea being that having these kids in the classroom is disruptive and frustrating. The documentary shows that in an unfiltered view. As if, you were sitting with them in the classroom. Whether you believe in inclusion or not, everyone should see this film. I have been promoting it for years. Even before it got it's Oscar. There is a huge difference between the physically challenged and the mentally challenged and the ones that are both. You can not create a classroom conducive to learning academics, when the lessons being learned are. that people are different and sometimes very difficult. Sharing the arts with them and free time could be better used for that purpose. I believe the film demonstrates all these points and more. I don't think that was their intention but, I do think it does open your eyes to what you would not see otherwise. But, you must see it to form your own opinions. If you have children in the public school system or not, whether you are a teacher or a parent, whether you have children disabled or not, you should see this documentary. I highly recommend it. This is my opinion.


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