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Understanding autism
Understanding autism

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4.1 Timothy Baron

In earlier weeks, Michael Baron talked about his profoundly autistic son, Timothy, one of the first children to be diagnosed in the UK. Timothy is in his 60s now. Despite remaining in residential care for most of his life, Michael sees real progress in how Timothy experiences and engages with the world:

What I think when I see him, and I saw him yesterday, is that the … rage and the disturbance that was the hallmark of Timothy at the age of four … that’s all sort of fallen away. … He isn't an angry middle-aged man. And in a way I think that the autism in a sense has fallen away and you are left with, in his case, a learning disabled, middle-aged man …

It’s just a theory that … he is not so, as it were, classically autistic as he used to be. … He is calmer and he is more sociable, can live in a community, can do things that he wouldn't have been able to do before and he is not so disabled by his autism as he was.

(Baron and Roth, 2017)

Michael is saying that the outcome for Timothy is successful compared with other possible eventualities for him as a profoundly affected person. This is a judgement in individual terms, rather than in relation to society’s norms.