As a scientist and researcher, I look at our progress in understanding autism with optimism. And with each moment of progress, we not only are that much closer to helping those with autism or other intellectual disabilities but also advancing our understanding of the human brain – to the benefit of all humankind.
With all the advances in science, however, the future of adults with autism is a little better today than it was at the outset when the term autism was first coined.
In his new book, Life Animated, Ron Suskind reveals how he connected with his adult autistic son and learned unequivocally that adults with autism have intelligence, have a tremendous desire to communicate, and are trapped in a world we just don’t get.
We can do much better. We cannot assign these intelligent, caring young men and women to a life of isolation, marginalization, and potential abuse.
Dr. Sam Goldstein, a neuropsychologist and author in Utah, a state with one of the highest prevalence of autism in the country, explains it this way. “If you have a sea of deficits, you’d better have an island of competence or you’ll drown.” He notes that when we take the time to notice and nurture those competencies, we all benefit. Understanding, contribution of unique talents, interaction with those who are different benefits us all.
As families celebrate Father’s Day in a few weeks, I wish for all dads the opportunity to celebrate the special talents of sons and daughters.
Dr. Gregory Prince, Co-Founder
Dr. Gregory A. Prince attended the UCLA School of Dentistry. He received a Ph.D. in Pathology from UCLA in 1975, studying respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the primary cause of infant pneumonia worldwide. Over a period of fifteen years at the National Institutes of Health and Johns Hopkins University, he and his co-workers developed the thesis that RSV disease could be prevented by administering antiviral antibodies to high-risk infants. He is President and Co-founder of Virion Systems, Inc. In addition, Dr. Prince has developed an avocation as a historian and his most recent work is a biography of LDS Church President David O. McKay. He and his wife, JaLynn Rasmussen Prince, are the parents of three children—Chad, Lauren, and Madison.