7 episodes

Tracing the history of autism through the first person ever diagnosed, and the rural community that helped raise him. Named “Case 1” in 1943, Donald Triplett was in and out of an institution, and spent time with history’s most important child psychiatrist, by the time he was five. Now 88, Donald has lived a full and happy life in Forest, Mississippi. What can his story teach us about creating a better world for those who are “different”?

Autism’s First Child iHeartPodcasts

    • History
    • 4.5 • 41 Ratings

Tracing the history of autism through the first person ever diagnosed, and the rural community that helped raise him. Named “Case 1” in 1943, Donald Triplett was in and out of an institution, and spent time with history’s most important child psychiatrist, by the time he was five. Now 88, Donald has lived a full and happy life in Forest, Mississippi. What can his story teach us about creating a better world for those who are “different”?

    Christmas in Forest

    Christmas in Forest

    In our final episode, we head down to Mississippi to meet Donald at the Bank of Forest Christmas party. He’s surrounded by love and acceptance and support. But there’s one last piece of the story that we didn’t get to yet — and it’s as important as the rest of it.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 42 min
    Donald on the Move

    Donald on the Move

    Donald Triplett graduated high school and then made it through college. Moving through adulthood he discovers pastimes that bring meaning and purpose to his life.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 38 min
    See the Forest

    See the Forest

    Donald Triplett grew up in a family that was rich, powerful, and white in the Jim Crow South. But what might his life have been like if he were poor and black? On this episode, we explore the intersection of race, resources, and autism.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 37 min
    I Wish Myself Luck

    I Wish Myself Luck

    After a difficult start to life, Donald Triplett, the little boy whose own mother described as “hopelessly insane,” is given a second chance. While psychologists try to make sense of Donald’s strange disorder, Donald does his best to fit into a world that doesn’t understand him.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 38 min
    Kanner Syndrome

    Kanner Syndrome

    Beamon and Mary Triplett discharge their three-year-old son, Donald, from a Mississippi institution. They appeal to Dr. Leo Kanner, the father of child psychiatry, who is intrigued by the boy’s remarkable memory and singular behavior. After years of studying children with similar attributes, Dr. Kanner makes the diagnosis that changes history. 

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 34 min
    Fitter Families

    Fitter Families

    Born in 1933, Donald T. of Forest, Mississippi exhibits strange behaviors that neither his parents, Beamon and Mary, nor doctors can understand. It’s the Eugenics era, when people who are different are considered degenerates, imbeciles, and threats to society best kept locked away in institutions. Beamon and Mary have other ideas.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 35 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
41 Ratings

41 Ratings

Kellybee917 ,

Beautiful

What a wonderful podcast.

Pryoticus ,

Fantastic Story That No One Knows

As father of a son who was recently diagnosed, I’ve been learning to adapt to the challenges that Autism can bring. Donald’s story is so inspirational and the hosts do a great job of presenting the psychology and history in a fair and balanced way.

Tulips21 ,

Smiles & Tears of (mostly)Joy

As a mother of a child on the ASD spectrum this pod touched my heart! Extremely informative! What an amazing life Donald is leading in his small community shows what we all need to strive for💗Highly recommended 🫶🏻

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