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Directed by Therese Beaupre; produced by Alan Edmonds Counterparts Productions, 1990. VHS cassette, 14:00 min., $250.00. Distributed by Visual Education Centre, 75 Horner Ave., Unit 1, Etobicoke, Ont. M8Z 4X5.


Reviewed by Ellen Heaney

Volume 21 Number 2
1993 March

The Miracle of Regina Mundi appears to be an excerpt from a series called "Second Chance," a "soft news" magazine program presented by Bonnie Gross.

We are introduced initially to twenty-year-old Denise, diagnosed at birth as an untrainable Down's syndrome victim. The Hamilton-Wentworth Roman Catholic Separate School Board, where Denise went to school and is now employed as a teacher's aide, is credited with pioneering the notion of mainstreaming developmentally handicapped children. There, it means placing children with special needs in neighbourhood schools and allowing them to work at their own level while modelling behaviour on that of more able classmates. In 1989, when this was filmed, this may have been radical, but it is definitely a more common philosophy in 1993.

There is a scattershot feel to the content of the video. We see Denise on the job, we listen to school administrators and parents talking about the value and drawbacks of the mainstreaming approach. We are also left to conclude, from hearing her father talk on camera, that parental support is vital to the success of people like Denise. There is an interview with another mentally retarded young man who is working as a courier, and with his parents. There are classroom scenes

and even distracting opening and closing blurbs about Ontario's Blue Box recycling campaign, which should have been edited out.

I question what audience the distributors hoped to reach by releasing this as a standalone program. It is certainly too vague to be a training film, and even for public interest it lacks focus.

For this price, I do not recommend it for public or individual school library purchase.

Ellen Heaney is Head of the Children's Department at New Westminster Public Library in New Westminster, British Columbia
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