The Story of Tim Baron, One of the First People to Be Diagnosed with Autism

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In 1961, Tim became one of the first children in Britain ever to be diagnosed with autism, then called “childhood psychosis.” Doctors suggested that his parents simply put him in a home and forget about him, because he would never be “normal.”

But Tim’s parents weren’t interested in that idea. Instead, they began learning everything they could about the disorder. They knew all he really needed was a little extra patience and understanding, and so they set to work building a network of people who would all work toward understanding the disorder better. Tim’s father, Michael, even founded the National Autistic Society, which he now chairs.

During that time, children with autism were not allowed to go to school, and there were no special schools for them. The parents were often blamed for the disorder and were believed to be cold and lacking nurturing skills. But parents of children with autism still knew they were capable of learning, and so the first school only for children with autism was started.

Most of Tim’s verbal communication is still in the repetition of other people’s words, but his family loves him despite his limitations and continue to teach him. His favorite thing to do is visit the lake with his father, where they feed the birds and go out on the lake in a boat.

Watch this fantastic BBC documentary featuring Timothy and narrated by his younger sister, who wanted to know more about how her brother’s mind worked. She will open your mind to a different world!

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