Claire Danes' Uplifting Message To Parents: 'Autism Exists On A Spectrum — It's Important We Know How To Work With It!'

Mon, January 31, 2011 1:37pm EST by Add first Comment

The SAG award winner used her acceptance speech to discuss about the importance of understanding autism. Way to go, Claire! Parents can take comfort in your words.

Claire Danes wants to clear up the misconceptions about autism. “It’s funny, most people think autistic people aren’t capable of empathy,” 31-year-old Temple Grandin actress said last night (Jan. 30) at the 2011 Screen Actors Guild Awards in LA. “I can’t think of a more empathic person than Temple Grandin,” explains Claire, whose award wining role was based on the real life Temple — an autistic woman renowned for her work in the humane livestock handling industry. “She’s really dedicated her life to representing those who are unrepresented. So that’s a misconception.”

“Autism does exist on a spectrum, there’s so many manifestations, every case is particular,” Claire continued. “It’s hard to treat for that reason. You can’t generalize. I think autism is more prevalent than anyone knew. That’s partly to do with diagnosis. It’s really important that we know what it is and how to work with it.” HollyMoms, have you had experience with autistic kids? If so, we’d love for you to share your story in the comment section below.

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Thanks to Temple, Claire was able to convey the message. “Temple was hugely instrumental for that to happen,” she noted. “She’s really a hero. So despite all this recognition, I can’t help but immediately defer to her. She lived it I played it. There’s a difference.”

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“This was a really extraordinary role one that I’m not going to find again anytime soon,” Claire finalized. “A role of this complexity and this depth — it was really intimidating. There were so many ways to get it wrong I was acutely aware of that. I found her so compelling and so inspiring, I couldn’t not take the risk. I’m so grateful that it worked and that people have responded so strongly to the film in a positive way. The real gift is that this movie found an audience.”

- Lindsey DiMattina, reporting by Lorena O’Neil

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