Admittedly, I know very little about autism. However, it seems to be a very mysterious and fascinating condition. Debbie Roppolo, learned a lot more about it when her three-year-old son, Joseph was diagnosed with high-functioning autism. Jean and I had a fascinating discussion about autism and the importance of having humor in your life.
In its most basic definition, autism is a neurological and developmental disorder that affects someone’s ability to communicate and engage in social interactions. There is also frequently a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviors. Once diagnosed, doctors can find out where on the Autism Spectrum the person falls.
Joseph was diagnosed with high-functioning Autism which means he is capable of communicating and some social interaction. On this end of the spectrum, the highest level of Autism is referred to as Asperger’s. If you watch The Good Doctor on ABC, the main character has Asperger’s.
Joseph received his diagnosis at age 3. Immediately, Debbie blamed herself, wondering if it was something she had done or not done. Eventually, she accepted that it was not her fault, but it was hers to deal with in raising her son.
While there are hard times and bad days, Debbie says, there are more good days and good times. And humor and laughter play a large role in that. She shares some great stories in her book and while we were talking. The ability to take a frustrating, annoying or difficult situation and find a laugh or just a humorous spin on it is essential. That’s right, essential and not optional.
Listen, laugh and enjoy our conversation with Debbie Roppolo.