Dr. Temple Grandin. Vernon L. Smith (Nobel Laureate in Economics). Professor Richard Borcherds (Fields Medal Winner). What do all of these people have in common?
The aforementioned all have been diagnosed with Asperger’s or high functioning autism, same as Kaitlyn. Other speculated to be autisic or be an aspie include Bill Gates, Paul Allen (Microsoft co-founder), Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton, Al Gore, Jim Henson, Warren Buffett, Charles Schultz and scientist Paul Dirac (of Dirac Science Library fame on FSU’s campus).
The more research I do into Asperger’s, the more I find that the outlook for Kaitlyn is amazing. With the proper support structure in place (Amber and I) and access to appropriate educational tools, the sky is the limit, and that brings a huge smile to my face. As each day passes, the image of those with autism slowly fades from that of Raymond Babbitt in the movie “Rain Main” to that of some of the most successful people in the world.
I look at the research that Dr. Grandin has and is conducting in the humane handling of livestock and become more impressed every day. Dr. Grandin was “weird” in school growing up but found that one person to believe in her and mentor her, and she took off. Dr. Grandin was the subject of a critically-acclaimed HBO documentary that bears her name, and has written some wonderful books from an “insider’s” perspective about autism. Dr. Grandin is not an aspie, but has high functioning autism, and offers hope to parents like Amber and I that with the right support, Kaitlyn can achieve anything she desires. I cannot wait to read Dr. Grandin’s latest book.
Some days are better than others for Kaitlyn, and for us, but knowing that the future is limitless for her potential is wonderful. Kaitlyn is a brilliant child that amazed us daily (and sometimes frustrates us daily). We continue to be blessed to have the opportunity to develop Kaitlyn and learn more about Asperger’s and autism, and continue to look forward to our growing role as educators and advocates for those on the autism spectrum. We have a great support system that is starting to take shape, and are thankful to some very special people in their support of us and of Kaitlyn; the kind words and encouragement we receive almost daily help make us stronger and better parents. So while Kaitlyn is in good company with all of the previously mentioned people, so are Amber and I for those who support us.