Understanding Suraj
Uncovering the person behind multiple disabilities.

New DVD release, 2015.


ISBN: 978-0-9573355-2-3
DVD price: £27.49 inc p&p

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The film follows Suraj, a 34-year old Asian male with profound levels
of physical and intellectual disability, over a period of two years.
He has no language; he communicates by rotating his index finger and
by a subtle body language that only becomes evident as you get to know him.
He has an unusually complex personality for a person
having Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities.
He has spent considerable time in a wheelchair since his teens,
but has considerable upper body strength.
Possibly out of frustration at his situation,
Suraj has developed severe self-injurious behaviour,
using his left arm and hand to beat his head.

His care team had realised that they could transform this
behaviour through rhythm...Suraj was drumming.
This was a significant breakthrough, since Suraj had been 'locked in' to himself
for the majority of his life; responding to rhythms generated by his
Speech and Language Therapist was one of the few moments,
for a very long time, in which contact was established.
His therapist had found an ingenious way to transform his behaviour
through creative activity and, at the same time,
to give him the means to develop his social communication.
The potential for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities
to suffer disproportionately from mental health issues
such as depression and poorly developed self-image and esteem
is an insufficiently understood and rarely considered issue.
The film invites the viewer to consider how difficult it can be for such people
to engage in levels of socially interactive and emotionally expressive interaction.
For people such as Suraj, who cannot express themselves symbolically,
to find meaningful non-symbolic or behavioural means of communication
as an individual is a considerable breakthrough. For his care team
and his family, Suraj is now a happier person generally than a few years ago.