Breaking The Silence – CBS News

Over the last few years, statistics have shown a significant and startling rise in the number of children diagnosed with autism.

But there has also been what some are calling an unexpected breakthrough in the disorder.

It has happened quietly, with just a handful of children – but it could have profound implications for nearly half a million children in the U.S. alone.

They are kids with autism – kids many presume are mentally retarded, or locked in their own world, unable to communicate or even to think for themselves. That was the prevailing view of autism. Until now.

Correspondent Vicki Mabrey takes a look at the remarkable people who are breaking the silence of autism – a silence that led one couple on a desperate search for a cure. This report originally aired in January.

For Hollywood producer Jon Shestack and his wife, Portia Iversen, their son Dov appeared to be developing normally.

Then, at around 18 months, he lost the few words he had learned to speak, stopped answering to his name and disappeared into the frightening world of autism.

“I felt helpless to help him. And yet, every minute, every day, I saw him getting further and further out of my grasp and there was no expert out there to stop it,” says Portia.

Jon and Portia were told their son had the most severe form of autism, and would never speak again. Doctors said there was nothing the couple could do for him except give him constant care and get on with their lives.

Now 10, the only sounds Dov makes are unintelligible. His behavior is filled with uncontrollable movements called “stimming,” or self-stimulation.

Source: Breaking The Silence – CBS News

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