While Temple Grandin has become a well-known exemplar of a person with autism, attaining that status required overcoming a daunting series of challenges. It was a journey begun and largely shared with her mother, Eustacia Cutler, who has become an ardent advocate for families that include children on the autism spectrum. She has her own story to tell.
Eustacia Cutler is currently at work developing what she calls “a social history of autism.” When the world was less urban and industrialized, she observes, it was easier and more common for families to integrate children with autism into the household’s routine.
In her 2006 memoir, A Thorn in My Pocket, Cutler writes at length about her experiences raising and advocating for her daughter in an era where institutionalizing such children was commonplace and expected. The title, she explains, refers to a sort of touchstone that she used after hearing about it as an adult re-entry student at Harvard University.
Ms. Cutler and Temple Grandin are both on the program for the Autism in the Family event at the Luther Burbank Center on Feb. 25.