An open letter to Oprah and her producers
Thank you for making a contribution to Autism Awareness Month by featuring families of autistic children on your show on Thursday. An hour show has only a little time, and yours opened the window on autism for many viewers.
However, I have some concerns.
I am a mother of a teenager with Asperger's Syndrome, a diagnosis on the high end of the autism spectrum. I am also the cousin of a more severely autistic adult. And I fill yet another role: that of classroom teacher who has taught several students on the spectrum. Based on my life experiences, both personal and professional, I saw some major holes in the production.
- The opening was definitely produced with the goal of tear-jerker rather than presenting facts. Facts and concepts can provide dramatic television while providing the audience with knowledge that leads to comprehension.
- Background knowledge, including your own, seemed to only scratch the surface.
- Guests and experts were primarily from the Chicago area, and therefore the group was limited in scope.
- The show didn't talk about or feature a range of people on the spectrum.
- Featured guests were parents, not older adults or teens with autism.
On behalf of many parents, teachers, and people with autism, thank you for your time. Stumble It!