The Atlantic has a fantastic story about Donald Triplett, the first person to be diagnosed with autism. The authors, John Donvan, perhaps more famously known as an ABC Nightline correspondent and Caren Zucker, a television producer and mother of a teen with autism, got the story as part of a collection they are working on for a new book.
The story shows us how Donald became to be diagnosed, what his early life was like, how he enjoys his twilight years — golfing, as any well-heeled gentleman might spend his retirement — and how he’s living as an accepted member of his hometown, Forest, Miss.
The authors sought out an expert in adults with autism to flesh out their story — kind of a rare breed. One thing that Peter Gerhardt, developer of an adolescence-to-adulthood program at the McCarton School, said, resonated with me:
“People want to treat these adults [with autism] like little kids in big bodies. They can’t. They’re adults.”
“It’s having friends It’s having interesting work. It’s having something you want. It’s all the things the rest of us value, once given an opportunity.”