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Acts of Love: Parenthood

The Los Angeles Chapter held “Acts of Love: Parenthood,” on November 4 that raised $100,000.  Hosted at the Creative Artists Agency in Century City, California, the evening was a salute to Jason Katims. He is the executive producer of the NBC television show “Parenthood,” who received the 2010 Acts of Love Awareness award for incorporating an autism story line into the series.

Performers included “Parenthood” cast members Max Burkholder, Lauren Graham, Peter Krause, and Craig T. Nelson, plus Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights), Christopher Gorham (Covert Affairs), Stephen Tobolowsky (Glee), Lorraine Toussaint (Saving Grace) and Brian J. White (Men of a Certain Age), among others.

The event was attended by such personalities as Alyssa Milano, Matt Dallas, Maria Menunous, Jurnee Smollett, Milo Ventimiglia, and Autism Speaks National Board Member Holly Robinson Peete.  One very special guest was a woman from Italy who loves “Parenthood” so much that she flew in from Europe just for one night to attend the show!

The audience was moved to laughter and tears about parenting—and the unique joys and challenges of having a child with autism—through music performed by John Doe, and readings from Erma Bombeck, Dana Carvey, Golda Meir, and Bill Cosby, along with several poignant essays written by parents of children with autism.

Many thanks to all who attended, and especially our major sponsors, Creative Artists Agency and NBC Universal Television.

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  1. Lisa Bohn
    November 9, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    I love *Parenthood* so much and am so happy that it’s bringing ASD to the forefront! The show is so well-written and honest… I hope more people will grow to understand the challenges that are faced in the ASD community.

  2. Janet Connelly
    November 12, 2010 at 11:05 am

    I wanted to say thank you so much for creating “Parenthood”, my husband and I look forward watching it every week. We have two children that live with Autism and we find that the show has opened a lot of peoples eyes. I also love the fact that the whole entire family is there for everyone, keep up the great writing!!!!!

  3. Lynda McTrusty
    November 12, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    I love watching “Parenthood” and can never wait until Tuesday nights! I think that this show is very well written and the actor that plays Max is outstanding! This show does a great job showing the ups and downs of parenting a child with autism. I know many people that watch the show and it really shows them what we go through as parents – the everyday challenges and the celebrations!

  4. November 12, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    I am the parent of a 24 year old man on the autism spectrum named Danny, and I sat down to watch Parenthood with a fair degree of skepticism that they would get it right; I am writing to say the script and characters ring surprisingly true to me and it is a now a show that my whole family gathers around to watch religiously. I congratulate both the writers as well as actors along with Mr. Katims with helping to change both hearts as well as minds about our cherished children on the spectrum.

    And I want to suggest a story line for Max! My son Danny is now a graduate student at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, living independently and enjoying a close circle of friends and mentors in Hollywood…he is using his strong visual skills to develop his considerable talent in film editing, and he has learned social skills through a painstaking process of hoisting himself up learning curves with help from typically developing people who he knows and loves; Danny couldn’t be achieving what he is without a community of supporters who understand the unique challenges he faces as well as the talent and vantage point he has to offer.

    Perhaps Max can walk in Danny’s footsteps? Art sometimes imitates life!

    Or maybe Max would like an assistance dog to help him better relate to those around him? Zeke seems to think so…

    Warm regards,


    Patty Dobbs Gross
    Founder and Executive Director
    North Star Foundation
    We help children find their way.

  5. Martina Gensler
    November 13, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    I am looking for support for grandparents…..Our ex daughter-in-law and our son have an autistic son…He is 11 years old and has been in school since he was 2…She met some guy online and took up with him, she said that our grandson understood, he was 4 at the time….He spent the night with us last night and wanted to know why his mommy and daddy weren’t together now as they were with his older brother…His mom had a baby on Friday and our grandson is so very confused, I’d just like to know how badly it would hurt him to be told the truth, I’m certain, he’d understand most of it, OR doesn’t he need counseling??? He’s not as bad as some children/adults with autism… He is a very smart child with…When she did all of this he did regress, then she has moved several times and again he regressed, he went all the way back to barney, then tele-tubbie, then blues Clues, it was like that every time, and our son hangs onto her every word about this…I wish someone could tell us what to do….We just show him all the love we’re allowed to…We’re open to any suggestions, Thank You for all the articles, they do tend to help when I read them

  6. November 14, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Hi Martina,

    There is no way I can fully address your concerns online but I believe you are asking for help defining your role in your precious grandchild’s life. His autism makes him vulnerable to environmental pressures and insults in any case, and you care deeply that his journey to adulthood is as smooth as you can now make it for him with your limited power afforded by a grandparent status (but unlimited amount of grandparent love.)

    Just understanding him today and how he feels and communicates his feelings to you is a powerful way to start; for any of us, typically developing or not, this is at the very heart of who we are to do this…

    Explaining in brief, nonjudgemental terms the reality of his past as well as current situation will perhaps fill in the gaps of his understanding of the social side of rather complicated relationships, and both the good as well as the ugly should be explained here…when these gaps of knowledge are properly filled in with the concrete of fact, undue anxiety can be avoided stemming from mistaken thought that he is at fault or at risk in some way in situations beyond his control. Remember, he has a socially naive imagination no matter how smart he is intellectually. Developing coping skills is the name of the game here, and allow him to create these coping mechanisms for himself and do not judge him for his selection…being on the autism spectrum means celebrating a unique set of both talents as well as needs.

    Think of yourself as a type of buffer; be sure his school protects him from bullying as he gets older. See if you can attend his IEP meetings if your son or ex daughter-in-law cannot make them and be sure to stress this important protective measure for him to keep his learning environment calm and conducive to learning as he gets older…and be sure they get him hooked up with the latest technology for children with autism that they now have online!

    Allow him to regress upon occasion to an earlier language he had for his emotions when he is with you, but gently encourage him to communicate in a more sophisticated manner, such as talking about his feelings directly to you (this is apt to happen when your grandson is most comfortable and happy.) Don’t push things here, but think of these moments as if a butterfly is landing on your shoulder and keep as still and attentive as you can to hear what he is struggling to tell you. Respect should be at the cornerstone of all your communication with him to keep him moving forward in his ability to develop social skills and emotional resiliency.

    Being there for him anytime you can for the rest of his childhood and providing stability for him is the best commitment you could make for him today. Be his sounding board as well as safe retreat for him to help him through the thick and thin of his childhood, and you will be rewarded by a relationship of richness beyond measure!

    Kind regards,

    Patty Dobbs Gross
    Executive Director
    North Star Foundation
    We help children find their way.

    Best of luck

  7. Charlotte
    November 16, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    I am a divorced mom of a very handsome lovable almost 10 year old son with highly functional autism-pdd-nos,a hole in his heart, mitral reguration and astma.He misses alot of school and is in the 3rd grade on 1st grade level, he was spending most of his school time in a smaller class setting but they took that away and said he just needs to spend more time in the natural settings ,but it has set his learning back alot.they also changed his IEP date twice .His regular teacher thinks he needs more time in the smaller settings but doesn’t know what I should do.Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    I get very little tv time what channel & time on Dish network does your show come on I would love to see it.

  8. November 18, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Hi Charlotte,

    Well, as a mom of a child with autism, I would say you should call a new IEP and tell the group his new placement is not appropriate for your son based on performance they can and should be measuring…remember, they owe you an appropriate education, and even if this means a more, not less, restrictive setting, whatever works best for your son is the way you should go…

    Kind regards,

  9. December 3, 2010 at 7:17 am

    We are the parents of two children with Autism. The show Parenthood has been a tremendous blessing to us. We just wanted to pass on our gratitude for portraying Aspergers (from both the child and family perspective) with such respect and dignity. Well done and thank you!!

  10. Karen
    April 19, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    I do not have a child on the Spectrum, but I am a therapist that specializes in working with them. I love that the show is bringing the issue to the forefront, but I believe it is not doing a good job of portraying all the assitance that there is for children. I want the Braverman’s to begin to really address all of Max’s behavioral problems, by first learning to not reward his bad behaviors. In the episode that aired on 4/19/2011, Adam and Christina rewarded Max with his tirade at the hospital by allowing him to leave and then giving him what he wanted despite his inappropriate behavior. All children need parents to tell them what the limits are, and children on the spectrum need their parents to be even firmer because they will continuously push the boundaries.

  1. November 17, 2010 at 11:47 am
  2. November 18, 2010 at 8:45 am

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