Well, it finally happened. Oprah did her first show on autism yesterday, and it was truly a great experience to watch it.
I really think she did the subjects of family issues and public awareness great justice, and tried to present autism from a family's point of view, instead of a clincian's– a refreshing change. I'm grateful for what she did, and am so glad that they featured the parents from the Autism Speaks video. It was a touching, inspiring, and informative piece for all of us.
The Autism Speaks video is here:
It's a great piece about how autism can and does affect many families, but I caution you that if you are really upset about your child's autism, that it's not filled with a lot of hope, and you may not want to watch it. I think that the mothers in the piece were understandably truly grieving about their child, and had never considered a different, more optimistic and positive view about their child's autism. We all can do that, and I only wish that a positive outlook was more evident in the press.
Oprah mostly featured families of children that were normally developing and then lost skills, which is less common than children that never gain the social and communication skills to begin with.
That might cause the public to think that most children with autism start out normally and lose skills, which is not the typical autism scenario. Also, not enough time was spent on the warning signs of autism in early development, because they were featuring mostly those who had lost skills at 18-24 months.
Overall however, I was very moved and think she did a great service for the autism community at large, by creating some wonderful public awareness about autism and how it manifests in daily life. I have a lot of respect for what Oprah does, and this show is no exception.