PBS News Hour with John Donvan 2-part series focuses on adults on the #autism spectrum

Autistic Adults holding pics as children

By Debra Muzikar

Tonight I was impressed that PBS News Hour is focusing on adults on the autism spectrum. John Donvan, co-author with Caren Zucker of In A Different Key: The Story of Autism, visits a program in Phoenix, First Place Transition Academy, that is creating independence, meaningful work and a sense of community. “There are nine of them in all (adult autistic males), paired off together in a cluster of apartments in a complex where their neighbors are mostly retirees who have no autism connection.”

One of the most poignant parts of the series is when the autistic adults hold photographs of themselves as children. Yes we parents know children are cute and our autistic adult children may be cute to us, but may not be so cute to others. If your child is 6’4″ and 220 pounds people no longer say he is “cute.”

John Donvan knows the importance of stories and images to get a point across.

“And the point is, adults don’t get nearly the attention and support the kids do, maybe because they’re not as cute or because people forget that autism is lifelong,” he says. You can see the transcript of the show here.

Josh Kluger, now 36, as a child was a talented singer. The news program shows Josh as a child singing. Josh is profiled navigating the complexities of a bus and getting to his job. He didn’t start riding a bus until he was over 30 (don’t give up on your children – they have a different timeline than most others.)

Many people in the autism community complain about the lack of funding for programs for adults. Bravo to John Donvan and PBS for bringing attention to this important issue.

Tomorrow, August 10, will be Part 2 of this important series. I will be in Mexico with my son Kevin Hosseini and his sister Katie. Everyone who follows my Kevin stories knows Kevin is all about Mexico and mariachi music! I look forward to watching the 2nd part of this series probably online when we return.

Kevin with Sombrero and new T.J. sweatshirt

Kevin with Sombrero and new T.J. sweatshirt

Just my opinion, Kevin is still cute. 🙂

5 Comments

  • John Donvan says:

    Thanks, Debra, for drawing attention to the PBS series, and to our new book, “In A Different Key: The Story of Autism.” I just wanted to point out that my co-author on the book, Caren Zucker, is also the producer of the PBS series. Never want those “behind the scenes” to be overlooked!

  • Lael Belove says:

    Debra, I am so looking forward to meeting you. Thank you so much for all you are doing to expand our humanity through bringing light to the needs of people on the spectrum. Your conversations are so nuanced. I personally am moved by all the work you and Keri are doing to bring awareness and compassion to the communities of young and older people in what I am coming to experience as simply and as yet “another culture”. Will miss you very much for our Aug 13 LA Screening of “Normal People Scare Me Too”.

    • admin says:

      Thank you Lael Belove (I love your name!). You are the second person this week who I’ve chatted with who has love in their last name. I look forward to meeting you as well. Thank you for setting up the August 13 Screening of Normal People Scare Me Too. I am sorry I’m going to miss it too!

  • Lael Belove says:

    PS YES Kevin is very Cute!

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