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Home » What You Should Know About Raising An Autistic Child: Patty Manning-Courtney (Transcript)

What You Should Know About Raising An Autistic Child: Patty Manning-Courtney (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of Patty Manning-Courtney’s talk titled “What You Should Know About Raising An Autistic Child” at TEDxAustinCollege conference.

In this talk, Patty Manning-Courtney reflects on her experiences as a developmental pediatrician working with autistic children and their families. She emphasizes the journey from fear and uncertainty to hope and acceptance that families undergo upon receiving an autism diagnosis. Manning-Courtney highlights the resilience and adaptability of families, who learn to celebrate their children’s unique progress and achievements, regardless of societal norms.

She discusses the importance of maintaining high expectations for children with autism, noting how this fosters their growth and development. The talk also addresses the societal challenges and judgments families face, and how they develop strategies to handle them. She shares personal stories of families building supportive communities and finding joy in their children’s unique perspectives and accomplishments.

Ultimately, Manning-Courtney’s message is one of optimism and reassurance, affirming that despite challenges, families can thrive and find fulfillment in raising an autistic child.

Listen to the audio version here:


Early Career Experiences

20 years ago, I was a relatively young developmental pediatrician, that’s a pediatrician that specializes in seeing children with a variety of different developmental disabilities, children with autism, Down syndrome, intellectual disability, cerebral palsy. I was asked to evaluate three-year-old twin boys. They had bright blue eyes and strawberry blonde hair, and they looked so similar that I was grateful that their mother had dressed them in T-shirts with their names on them. Their parents were young and nervous.

The boys weren’t talking like other children their age, something that was becoming even more obvious to the parents as their younger son was developing, in some ways surpassing his older twin brothers. I saw the boys and I noted that they were both pretty agile. They used very few words and they were pretty efficient at getting their needs met, getting things for themselves without requesting any help from adults. I asked the parents many questions, including, “How easy is it for you to get their attention?” To which the mother responded, “It’s not easy.”

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