Rosie O’Donnell is opening up about having a child with autism.
In a personal essay published in People, O’Donnell’s 9-year-old daughter, Dakota, was diagnosed with autism in 2016 when she was just 2 years old. “I worried about my longevity because as you speak to parents of kids with autism, their main worry is what happens when they die,” O’Donnell, 60, told People. “Who’s going to love their child and understand them the way you do?”
Rosie O’Donnell Writes Heartfelt Essay About Her Daughter, Who Has Been Diagnosed With Autism
In an emotional essay written for the magazine, O’Donnell detailed what followed, writing that when her then 2-year-old daughter didn’t respond to her name during a routine doctor’s exam “somewhere deep down I knew.”
“Getting the diagnosis felt like I was punched in the stomach,” the movie star wrote. “I had to give myself a moment to go, ‘Okay, we’re going to figure out how to get through it.'”
Rosie went on to write that while anyone can “read as much as possible” about autism when you “meet one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism,” emphasizing that autism is a spectrum.
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“For me — it’s like an angel fell into my life. One who doesn’t function by societal standards. I’m not taking away from the pain and hardship that this diagnosis brings to families,” O’Donnell wrote. “All of a sudden, there’s a child with a lot of needs and you spend a lot of time trying to connect on their level. It’s not easy — but it’s necessary to let them know they are seen.”
The mom of three added that she never wanted her youngest daughter to “feel shame about her diagnosis,” and instead decided to tell her “from the start that autism is her superpower.”
O’Donnell went on to describe her daughter as being “endlessly curious,” so the former talk show host “focused on how to enable her to learn in a way that her brain was set up to learn.” She wrote that she knew it would be important for her daughter’s self-esteem to “get her reading,” and found a “great school in Los Angeles” that has “all kinds of neurodivergent kids and special-needs learners” and has helped her daughter read at grade level.
“It’s a beautiful melting pot,” O’Donnell added.
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O’Donnell wrote that Dakota “feels things deeply but doesn’t always express emotions,” and during a drive home told her mother that there was “water on my face.” O’Donnell went on to explain what tears are and asked her daughter if she was sad.
“I held her and let her cry,” she wrote, “reminding her everyone has feelings.”
O’Donnell ended the heartfelt essay by explaining to readers that “Dakota’s autism forces me to see the world from a completely different place,” adding that her daughter is a “gift from another dimension.”
“She teaches me. To be able to see the world as she does — for me, it’s been a wonderfully magical experience,” she wrote. “I’m so glad we have each other.”
Mamas Uncut is THE online place for moms. We cover the latest about motherhood, parenting, and entertainment as well – all with a mom-focused twist. So if you’re looking for parenting advice from real parents, we have plenty of it, all for moms from moms, and also experts. Because, at the end of the day, our mission is focused solely on empowering moms and moms-to-be with the knowledge and answers they’re looking for in one safe space.
Mamas Uncut is THE online place for moms. We cover the latest about motherhood, parenting, and entertainment as well – all with a mom-focused twist. So if you're looking for parenting advice from real parents, we have plenty of it, all for moms from moms, and also experts. Because, at the end of the day, our mission is focused solely on empowering moms and moms-to-be with the knowledge and answers they’re looking for in one safe space.