Tom Hanks & His #1 Fan

Love this video – although it was posted earlier this year, it is now just making the rounds – and we’re glad it did! Tom Hanks has a reputation for being one of the nicest stars in Hollywood, and this just makes the case even stronger. While starring on Broadway in “Lucky Guy” he invited Sarah Moretti, a young lady with autism, backstage after learning she was a huge fan. In fact, according to the YouTube post, Sarah saved all the things she could find about Tom Hanks over the years – and you can see him going through the binder with her. (The best part is watching the excited Sarah’s reaction in the mirror!) – check it out:


Lynsey, Community Manager

Spending A Little Time Online

I spent the morning having fun on YouTube.  Aside from Facebook, it’s another internet site where you can “waste” time…I’m not kidding – it’s seriously addictive!  I started by watching ‘The Kennedy Center Honors’ from last year, and an hour later I was asking myself, “seriously, what did I just do??”

But YouTube has its useful side too, especially if you are looking for help with your autistic children.  For starters, take a look for the Autism Treatment Center of America and The Son-Rise Program.  Here are just a couple of great links that can help get you started down that “geez, it’s been an hour already?” path….

(in this video, you hear a little bit about Nathan from the perspective of his mother, who’s speaking in a lovely Irish accent…)


(in this video, you hear about Jake’s recovery from autism, and Jake’s parents, Brian and Susan were also in our first Son-Rise start up and have enjoyed the same success as we’ve had with Kyle!)


(and in this video, you can see Kyle’s first ever fashion collection, and yes, that’s Kyle talking with Marsh Gay Harden!)

So you see, YouTube can be a very useful way to spend an hour, or two, or three, especially if what you are watching incredible videos filled with help and hope – you never know what will be that one message you hear that will inspire you to take bold action in helping your little youngster with autism.  Log on and give it try…it’s really fun!



Telling Your Child About Their Autism

What It Is To Be MeThere is a decision many parents tend to struggle with after learning their child is autistic – -which is, when and how do I tell my child they’re autistic? Writer Brenda Rothman touched on this very topic (here via Huff Post). She talks about the various “tactics” that people have recommended (ie…think it’s time to have “The Talk”). After thinking it through, she came to realize it wasn’t about sitting down and having this serious, big talk with her son about his autism – which could make it a negative thing, like something was wrong. Instead, she felt it could be done in trickles, which was more of a natural sharing of information – almost the opposite of “The Big Talk” tactic – making it no big deal. I like this way of thinking – because autism is part of who your child is, it should be a natural sharing of information, with an emphasis on what makes them special.

There are some books out there that are designed for autistic children to help them understand what their autism means, which can also be a good tool in talking with your child. A few include:

What It Is To Be Me!

Different Like Me: My Book of Autism Heroes

Asperger’s: What Does It Mean to Me?

But there are many different thoughts and ideas on this one, so we’d like to hear from you (as I’m sure other parents seeking this kind of information do too). How have you told (or how are you planning to tell) your child about their autism?

First to share her insights is our own Jen Westphal, who said:

A few of the most important aspects of The Son-Rise Program is the three E’s – eye contact, energy and enthusiasm – and their teachings of acceptance.  Once we realized what a gift Kyle’s autism was (because we did NOT believe this before Son-Rise), we enthusiastically set out to help Kyle appreciate that his autism was an important part of him!  Some days were better than others, for sure, but today, at 20 years of age, Kyle understands himself sometimes better than most “typical” people I know!  Kyle’s courage to jump over one hurdle after another, fall down 7 times, get up 8, and embrace his autism makes him a hero in the eyes of so many who know him.

Lynsey, Community Manager

Actress Daryl Hannah Shares Autism Diagnosis

Daryl HannahDaryl Hannah, probably best known for playing a mermaid in Splash in the 1980’s – or more recently in Kill Bill, opened up to People Magazine about her childhood diagnosis of autism. This is likely a surprise to most people, being that she’s a public person (and little was known about autism at the time of her diagnosis). But she wasn’t as “public” as we thought she was. In fact, her autism makes her quite uncomfortable being the center of attention – at the peak of her popularity, we learned that she wasn’t attending awards shows or movie premieres.

As a child, Daryl said she suffered from “debilitating shyness” and rocked non-stop. Doctors had recommended medicating her and putting her into an institution- luckily, though, her mother (a teacher) chose not to take their advice.  Daryl found her love of acting – and although she dropped away from the Hollywood scene years ago and focuses much of her time on environmental activism – still does so from time to time.

Read more about Daryl’s story here.

Lynsey, Community Manager