Posts Tagged ‘autism’

Jake Barnett: Proud to be Autistic

January 22, 2012

Jake Barnett

We know as little about genius as we do about autism. Yet there seems to be a razor-thin overlap between them in which the autistic is linked to the artistic. Case in point: Thirteen-year-old math prodigy Jake Barnett, who (more…)

Carly’s Voice

January 14, 2012

Carly Fleischmann

Imagine being trapped in a body that is constantly on sensory overload. Imagine not being able to speak. Imagine that your legs feel like they’re on fire, or like a hundred ants are crawling up your arms. Imagine that the world, even your own family, considers you mentally disabled. Imagine that you are still you, intelligent and capable, but unable to express yourself in any way for eleven years. Until . . .


In the aftermath of her appearance on ABC’s 20/20, teenager Carly Fleischmann has (more…)

The Courage of Scott James

November 10, 2011

What a joy it is to watch somebody rise up and strain against the bonds of their paralyzing fears and physical limitations, as if to say, No longer will you control my life! I must be free . . . I will be free!

In September 2009, twenty-one-year-old Scott James, who was diagnosed with (more…)

“My Son’s Angel”

December 7, 2010

I was touched by this story of one child caring for another child with special needs. We are blessed by every child who comes into the world with a pure heart filled with loving kindness. I am also grateful for people like Hartley and her husband, Jeff, who adopt children in need of loving parents.

by Hartley Steiner

Hartley Steiner

I met an Angel just a few weeks ago.

She is not the kind that lives in heaven, but the other kind, the kind that lives on earth.

She doesn’t have a halo (at least not one you can see). This Angel has blonde hair and a smile that reveals her missing tooth—giving away her age much like the wrinkles around my eyes give away my own.

Like most other Angels that you read about, she came at a time that she was needed, and gave Hope to someone who needed it desperately.

What makes this Angel special to me is that she came to help my (more…)

One Family’s Travails and Triumphs With Autism

June 23, 2009

James Autry and Sally Pederson

James Autry
and his wife, Sally Pederson, graciously shared the story of how their autistic son changed their life in my book, Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything.

Autry, the author of ten books, had a distinguished career at Meredith Corporation where he was senior vice president of its Magazine Group. Pederson is the former Lieutenant Governor of Iowa.

Here are some moving excerpts from their story. Autry’s quotes are in regular type. Pederson’s quotes are in italics.

Sally and I were married in 1982. Three years later, when our son Ronald was two years old, we knew something was terribly wrong. His subsequent diagnosis of autism, and my response to that diagnosis, changed everything in my life. Not only did it accelerate my process of awareness and consciousness, it profoundly changed my priorities. I was a highly paid senior corporate executive at Meredith Corp. and even had thoughts about becoming CEO some day. Instead, as I watched Ronald’s struggle to find his place in the world, I realized that I couldn’t do this anymore. I couldn’t keep traveling twenty-two weeks a year. Sally and I sat down and agreed that as soon as we had saved enough that we could get by financially, I would take early retirement.

We came to terms with the immediate reality of Ron’s autism by simply (more…)

“Autistic License”—A Poignant Look at Autism

June 17, 2009




Michael Paul Levin and Stacey Dinner-Levin

Michael Paul Levin is a friend of mine and a valued member of my creative writing group. He and his wife, Stacey Dinner-Levin, have four boys; the oldest, Geordy, now 19, is autistic. To enlighten and educate others about the challenges of autism, Stacey wrote a play called Autistic License; Michael, a gifted actor, stars as their son, Geordy. The play has been presented in numerous venues to raise funds for autism awareness.

As someone whose life has not personally been touched by autism, I was (more…)

J-Mac . . . Hoop Dreams Do Come True!

February 25, 2009

Jason McElwain

Jason McElwain, a senior at Greece Athena High School in New York, was the student manager for the school’s basketball team when coach Jim Johnson called his name in the final game of the year with 4:19 left to play. It was the first and only game J-Mac would ever play in.

The crowd went wild, holding up photo-signs of Jason’s face. Jason, you see, is autistic. And what happened over the final 4:19 of that game was nothing short of magical. If J-Mac’s story doesn’t inspire you, nothing will.

Here is a look at the aftermath of Jason’s heroics, narrated by Tom Rinaldi, who also narrated the first video. (more…)