Autism is a growing diagnosis in the United States. The Atlantic profiles the man, Donald Triplett, who was the first autism case in the United States diagnosed in the early 1940s.
The main question raised by this article, and one that is important to consider in the coming decades, is what will happen to autistic adults? There are a number of programs today for autistic children and teenagers but care is much more spotty for adults. Additionally, what happens when the parents of autistic children die? Donald has made a life for himself that includes plenty of golf and world travel but he lives in a close-knit Southern community that protects him from outsiders.
I used this article recently in class to illustrate how two journalists used a purposive sample to make their argument. Rather than try to look at autistic adults as a whole, they selected a prominent case to raise questions about autistic adults. While Donald may not be truly representative of this group, his life illustrates how an autistic adult can have a good life.