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Showing posts from September, 2014

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A + for The A-Word: The most authentic look at Autism on screen.

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I worked for several years with a succession of autistic children—which mostly means boys—kids who were mainstreamed in regular education classrooms, with a classroom aide assigned to shadow them. That was me, the shadow. 

We also lived next door to a family who had an autistic son who became one of our son’s closest playmates, until we moved away at the end of elementary school. Chris, with his funny idiosyncrasies is the source of some very sweet memories, as well as moments of high drama. That’s what you get with autism, children who can be deeply involved when their needs and passions are directed and shared but who can sometimes find it frustrating when those needs are brushed aside. 

It’s typical for an autistic child to want to talk about dinosaurs—or whatever the passion is—and be frustrated while the rest of the kids have moved on to another topic. The autistic child is focused on that stegasaurus and exactly how cool it is, just not quite getting that the others don't shar…

The Star Factor: Jaclyn Smith, Max Factor and Me

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I came face to face with Jaclyn Smith the other day. Well, not exactly face to face. The former Charlie's Angels TV star was smiling down at me from a banner mounted above the clothing racks and shelves a Kmart, racks stuffed with the cheaply made clothing lines of Sophia Vergara, Nicki Minaj, Adam Levine and Jaclyn Smith herself.
"Hi there, Jaclyn," I thought to myself. "It's been a long, long time. Wow, are you ever looking good!" 
I certainly haven't aged as gracefully. I was a twenty-something in-house copywriter at Max Factor, fond of red eye glass frames and rainbow suspenders, when we met briefly back in the early 80's. And Jaclyn? She wasn't just the gorgeous spokesperson with the sultry voice who touted Max Factor's Epris fragrance (anyone remember "Part of the art of being a woman is knowing when not to be too much of a lady,"?) she would always be the beautiful Kelly Garrett, the only one of Charlie's Angels to stay …