Refrigerator Mothers to air on WTTW!

As part of their ongoing tribute to our 45th anniversary, WTTW11 Chicago PBS will air Refrigerator Mothers tomorrow at 10pm (with a repeat broadcast at 4pm on Thursday).


The award-winning 2003 film charts the history of autism misdiagnosis in the 1950's and 1960's, when allegedly 'cold' mothers were incorrectly blamed by the medical community (led by Bruno Bettelheim) for their children's conditions. Through the poignant stories of mothers from the era, Refrigerator Mothers puts a human face on what can happen when authority goes unquestioned and humanity is removed from the search for scientific answers. Learn more and watch the trailer.


The film, directed by David E. Simpson and Produced by JJ Hanley, originally aired on PBS' P.O.V. series in 2003, as well as collecting numerous awards including the Grand Jury Prize at the Florida Film Festival, Best Documentary at Sedona International Film Festival, and notably, First Place Media Awards from the National Association on Mental Retardation (now known as the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD)) and a Media Award from the National Council on Family Relations.


After working on the film Refrigerator Mothers producer JJ Hanley was inspired to create the website JJ's List, which allows people with disabilities to rate and review businesses and services.


Not in Chicago, or unable to watch the broadcast? Refrigerator Mothers is available for purchase in our store and free to watch online at Snagfilms.