SWIM TEAM Review — The Most Touching Piece I've Ever Posted

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SWIM TEAM Review by Allie Foutz Turley

Swim Team Review

Three-year-old Harrison learning to swim

Allie Foutz Turley is one of my six beautiful nieces. She’s not a professional critic, although she did a bang up job when I took her to a junket and asked her to interview Shia LaBeouf and John Voight for the movie Holes. She is, however, a former member of a swim team, and most relevant of all, she and her husband Jared are the parents of three-year-old Harrison, who has been diagnosed on the autism spectrum. I thought she would be far more qualified than I to write the Swim Team review, covering a riveting and heart-felt documentary about the Jersey Hamerheads, a Special Olympics team made up of kids who are also on the spectrum.

Swim team reviewSimply put, Swim Team was very real.  The parents talk about real issues that most people with a disabled child go through. Every part of life seems like a fight (with school districts, government funded programs, insurance/money).  It’s hard hearing all the things your child may not be able to do, but this movie gives many hope.

I loved the message to “never give up on your child.”  The fight is long but worth it.  Since Harrison is only three, we really don’t know what he can or can’t do in some aspects. I do know that he can do pretty much anything physically that a typical three-year-old can do.  I’m hoping that continues, so he can swim or compete in sports as I have.  Being part of a swim team taught me dedication, hard work, goal setting, and teamwork. I would love for Harrison to experience what I have on a team.

This movie helped me think in the long run too.  I haven’t really thought about after high school or college or jobs for Harrison.

Allie and Harrison

As I was watching the film, I couldn’t help but wonder why there weren’t more programs like this out here (in the west).  Since people with autism typically have a hard time with social cues and motor control, a swim team is an excellent solution. I would love it if Harrison could be on such a team!

It really is a win, win. The kids are getting more exposure to areas they need to work on (social skills, motor skills, situations that cause anxiety) and the parents meet other parents that are going through similar situations with their kids. I loved how the swim team was a kind of therapy for many kids.

swim team review

I thought it was interesting that the kids in the movie knew they were different.  I think most of the time we assume people with cognitive problems don’t notice being treated differently, but they really do!  I also noticed no matter how many times the parents talked about their children, they still got emotional.  I think that will always be the case.

I think the movie also was a great example of autism as a spectrum disorder.  All the kids on the swim team were diagnosed with autism but all acted differently and had their own strengths and weaknesses.

The movie was heart warming and touching as you saw the boys win their relay and events at the meets.  Harrison was watching it with us and he was literally cheering for them!  I’m so glad more movies are coming out like this to help educate the public and bring to light the flaws in our system when it comes to disabilities.

Thanks so much to Lara Stolman for making this film.   My husband Jared is already thinking of team names for the future swim team 😉

Find out how and where you can see this film at SwimTeamtheFilm.com.

SWIM TEAM Review by Allie Foutz Turley
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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.

1 Comment

  1. Craige story on July 10, 2017 at 7:35 am

    Allie has a future in writing! Thank you for such a stron review. We want to see it!

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