Autism Chronicles: Single With An Autistic Child

Kollin Thompson

Kollin Thompson, 6, attends special education classes at Howard Elementary in Niles, Michigan. Dan Collison for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Dan Collison for NPR

This is the first in a three-part series from producer Dan Collison.

We meet Amy Thompson, the single parent of four-year-old Kollin, who was recently diagnosed with autism. Amy, who had worked with special needs kids since she was 15, says she wasn't that surprised by the diagnosis. Now a mother, however, she says she feels somewhat overwhelmed.

As an assistant teacher, "I was able to shut it off at three o'clock, three-thirty, and go home and not have to deal with that," she says. "Well, now I have to figure out how to deal with that on a 24-hour basis."

Confronting 'That Autism Thing'

More in the Autism Chronicles

In Part II of this series, the Brown family takes Gibson to a special school. There, he begins to show signs of progress and his parents learn that success is relative.

Throughout Gibson Brown's early years, his parents sense there is something off, but they can't pinpoint what. Doctors aren't much help. Then, an insightful Santa Claus suggests that it might be "that autism thing."

No way, his mother Katrina thinks, comparing her peaceful child with the kicking, screaming version of the disease she's extracted from movies. When a renowned doctor confirms Santa's suspicions, however, the Browns react in a surprising way.

Producers Dan Collison and Elizabeth Meister of Long Haul Productions bring us this two-part series.

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