So, did anyone else watch Oprah today - an episode called "The Faces of Autism"? What did you think?
I just watched it on TiVo. I have to admit that I went in with low expectations, having read criticism of the show in the blogosphere and elsewhere on the Internet. I expected the show to be alarmist and overwhelmingly negative, but I was pleasantly surprised. There was negativity - a lot of it. But there was also a lot of love, a lot of footage of autistic children who were not in the throes of difficult moments - children who were smiling and kissing their parents. The parents interviewed talked about their challenges, their exhaustion, the failure of a marriage, the sacrifices they've made, the stress on their neurotypical children - but they also talked about how much they love their autistic children, how much their children have brought to their lives, and how much richer their lives are because of them.
Of course, there are things I would have liked to see: An interview with an autistic adult, for one. Any mention of RDI or other promising educational practices or intervention strategies that went beyond "the importance of early intervention," for another. It struck me that most of the parents interviewed seemed to have similar backgrounds: children who were developing normally until sometime after they turned 2, at which point they lost their previously acquired abilities; pediatricians who brushed off parental concerns and failed to diagnose the autism until much later. Neither of those things were true for us - but are these experiences more common than mine? And if not, then why was such a small cross-section of parents selected for the panel?
So, those are my thoughts: it was not ideal, but all things considered, it exceeded my expectations.
What did you think?