A Place to Belong

. January 29, 2013.

Understanding people and their perspectives has been the lifetime passion of Lois Lipman, a former visiting faculty member at the University of Toledo. You may not be aware of her name, but most likely have been touched through some avenue of her work. She’s dedicated her life to seeking and sharing true stories of the courageous human spirit, through television, film and radio for over two decades, and her career is just beginning.

Keeping the faith

Lipman first began in communications at a radio station in Wisconsin where she was raised. “Never lose faith in the truth,” a quote from the Dalai Lama, has been her motto throughout the many phases of her career. Lipman felt her interests gravitate towards film and television, where the audience was hungry and practically unlimited.

Teaching courses in public speaking, documentary filmmaking and English literature from Wisconsin and Toledo to Colombia, South America, she’s a skilled field producer, director and holds an impressive resumé in writing and research for television including an Emmy and Peabody award. Lipman has also been esteemed for her work with 60 Minutes in London, producing and writing stories for anchors Morley Safer and Ed Bradley. However, her latest venture, achieving her MFA (Masters of Fine Art) at the American University in Washington D.C. has rocketed Lipman to a whole new level.

Finding a place

Lipman’s graduate thesis assigned her the task of directing and producing a documentary about her chosen subject. A relative contacted Lipman about her daughter who attended an innovative school and had ADHD Syndrome, suggesting she feature the academy to expose their work. As Lipman researched the academy, the administration was designing another school specifically for children with Asperger syndrome (a form of high functioning autism.) The Auburn School, located in Herndon, VA, became the focus of Lipman’s documentary, “A Place to Belong: Aspergers and Schooling,” Classes at The Auburn School include multi-sensory instruction, a research-based curriculum to accommodate each student and to integrate speech, occupational and language therapies. The ultimate intention of the school is to offer tuition portions that can be covered by insurance.

Naturally conveying a story through the eye of the lens, Lipman closely followed two students, who inherently stood out to her. Both boys, tormented in public school systems by their peers, were misunderstood by teachers and so enrolled at The Auburn School with hopes of having their social needs met. Lipman hopes her film will inspire teachers to research and prepare, as children diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, as well as other autism spectrum disorders, seek their niche in the public school systems. The documentary has become a moving work of art receiving national recognition. The CINE Golden Eagle awards, which has been the first major film award for many directors, celebrated her film, along with the work of other aspiring student filmmakers last month in D.C. Even as Lipman pauses for a moment to accept deserved credit, she’s already working diligently on voicing the stories of more exceptional human beings.

For more info or to view A Place To Belong visit www.vimeo.com/11124732 or www.facebook.com and search for A Place To Belong.