DVD (Chaptered)
DVD + 3-Year Streaming
3-Year Streaming

Softening: Loving a Child with Special Needs

“I’m not really one of those parents of a kid with special needs who thinks it’s a gift from God or a blessing in disguise,” says filmmaker Kelly O’Brien. O’Brien speaks honestly about her struggle to cope for the first five years following the birth of Teddy, born with extensive brain damage resulting from an in-utero viral infection. The rewards as well as the challenges of caring for him are evident in Softening, a lyrical cinematic diary O’Brien created to celebrate her son’s inherent beauty and the joy he brings to his family’s life. His big sister’s vast affection and his father’s poignant observation that all Teddy’s physical limitations fall away when he dreams help to dispel the fear and discomfort often surrounding the topic of disability. In leaving out the grittier details of Teddy’s daily regimen to focus on the moments of intimacy and play, the film also documents O’Brien’s gradual process of opening up emotionally—her softening—about her son’s difficult diagnosis. (39 minutes)

Playing preview clip:
Special Needs Diagnosis
No one said congratulations when Kelly O'Brien welcomed her new baby. She recalls learning that her son has microcephaly. He suffered brain damage form a virus contracted in utero.