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Spotlight on Karl Taro Greenfield

The ”Boy Alone” author tells the story of his upbringing and how he’s raising his own children

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Your father wrote about Noah. Now you are. Why?
I really didn’t want to write about him for most of my life. Part of that is because until I had daughters of my own and observed their relationship, I didn’t understand how my relationship with Noah had been normal — and how it had been abnormal. And the other thing is, I never read anything about adult autistics. It’s like they vanish when they turn 16. And the low-functioning kids are going to need lifelong supervision. Believe me, that care is not out there in the way we like to think it is. And I felt like, well, this is an issue that needs to be more broadly discussed.

How is Noah doing now?
He remains a handful. But we take the small incremental improvements when we can get them.

You must look at parenting differently because of what you went through as a boy.
I started out with a very low bar for what I wanted from my kids. I wanted them to be able to talk. That was my great ambition in the beginning. And now I’m just like any other parent. I want my older daughter to nail down her times tables, and I want them doing all the stuff they’re supposed to be doing. But I am able to step back and remind myself, you know, I’ve really come out ahead here. ”Normal” is a wonderful thing for a parent.