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Posted by on Mar. 30, 2016 at 1:38 AM
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Robert De Niro Reveals His Son Has Autism: Inside His Life as a Father

Robert De Niro Reveals His Son Has Autism
By Jodi Guglielmi

Robert De Niro has revealed that his son Elliot has autism.

"Grace and I have a child with autism and we believe it is critical that all of the issues surrounding the causes of autism be openly discussed and examined," De Niro, 72, had said in a statement amid controversy swirling around the planned screening of the anti-vaccination documentary Vaxxed at the Tribeca Film Festival. (He later decided to pull the film from the festival's schedule.)

While this is the first time the actor has confirmed his child's diagnosis, it's not the first time De Niro has associated himself with a film on the topic of autism. At the 2014 festival, he and his wife hosted a screening of the documentary Sounding the Alarm.

While De Niro has mostly kept his private life out of the spotlight, in the past he's hinted at the experience of raising a child with special needs.

In a 2013 interview with Katie Couric, De Niro broke down while discussing the film Silver Linings Playbook, saying he can relate to director David O. Russell, who wrote the film for his son who has bipolar disorder.

"I don't like to get emotional," he said. "But I know exactly what he goes through."

De Niro, who has two children with Hightower - son Elliot, 18, and daughter Helen Grace, 4 - also has four other children: daughter Drena, 40, and son Raphael, 35, with former wife Diahnne Abbott, as well as 16-year-old twin sons Julian and Aaron, born via surrogate with ex-girlfriend Toukie Smith.

'Sesame Street' Adds Julia, Its First Character With Autism

And while De Niro is known to be a man of few words, the actor has often shown his softer side while speaking about his family.

"There are great moments and moments of sadness," he previously told PEOPLE of raising his kids. "Sometimes you're the last person they want to deal with. It's like when you walk your kids to school and they get older and they don't want to hold your hand or kiss you goodbye."

Still, De Niro says he's grateful to have his children nearby.

"Everybody's in New York and, hopefully, my younger kids will go to college in New York and find something they want to do so they'll stay in the city," De Niro told the Los Angeles Times. "I like the kids to be around. If they want to go to college here and live at home, I won't have a problem with that."
by on Mar. 30, 2016 at 1:38 AM
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by Platinum Member on Mar. 30, 2016 at 7:54 AM
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I dont feel a lot of sympathy for movie stars on many family/parental fronts.
Theyre over paid for little yearly work they can throw money and time at things and easily hire help to solve many issues... Caregiver burn out, aba, insurance and "finding help" and the struggles we as ASD parents face and that is not their reality. In addition, Im guessing as a DeNiro child youre not concerned about how the child will financially support themselves someday?

I do feel sympathy from the perspective of all the wonder we get from our children that perhaps he misses due to being away for period of time and if there are emotional or other challenges. Every parent should get hugs, love, hopefully hear "mom", "dad" and "love you"... And hugs and affection. If Mr.DeNiro is missing that... My heart breaks for him and his family cause thats a struggle. :(
by Gold Member on Mar. 30, 2016 at 4:46 PM

I did not realize this.

by Bronze Member on Mar. 31, 2016 at 11:29 PM

William Christopher that played the Chaplin on MASH ( a sitcom that was on many years ago) was one of the first to tell people that he had a son with Autism.

The thing about stars and famous people telling the public about it is good in the sense that it make others aware that it is ok to talk about it, that it is thru all social circles not just the very rich and not just the very poor. It has nothing to do with the parents having too much education or the lack of education or no prenatal care etc. that some folks might think.

Someone else on here said well the stars don't have to worry about childcare and don't have to worry about money to pay for therapy etc. etc. Which is True but they still might not end up with a child or an adult that can say good night dad, I love you Mom. Even though they might not need to have a job because the parents can pay for everything. Everyone wants their child to succeed at whatever is they can do. 

by Bronze Member on Apr. 2, 2016 at 10:12 AM
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Me either. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that people didn't talk about it until more recent years. The world autism awareness day didn't even start until 2007 (the year my son was born, seems kind of ironic to me). It seems like people are too busy worrying about the cause(s) and not focusing on what services are effective (which I know is not the same for everyone, I just want to see my son improve, we are making slow and steady progress). I know this was the big frustration when dr. Oz had his show on autism, the focus was heavily on the cause (we all know that thoughts are split on this) & not on services/alternative therapies that might be effective, what a huge disappointment. I know Holly Robinson Peete's son has autism and has her own foundation devoted to it and Parkinson's. I found this article sort of interesting

Sharing her thoughts on autism and some of the things they've tried and that have worked for them/him (RJ). 

Quoting rebecca_new_mom:

I did not realize this.

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