The Pioneering Life of Donald Triplett: Meet the World’s First Diagnosed Autistic Child whose Story Helped Shape Understanding

  American Donald Triplett may not be a celebrity, but if people know that he is the first child diagnosed with autism in the world, they may find out how little his life has brought to the future world But important hope.
  Donald was born in Forest City, Mississippi in 1933, and at an early age he displayed distinctive traits: He did not respond to the movements and voices of his parents and never played with children his own age; he behaved poorly , until the age of 3, still unable to eat independently, even tempting him with candy or ice cream will not help; he has no awareness of danger, he will suddenly open the window on the second floor or suddenly run into the middle of the road, completely unaware of the possible consequences— ——The only thing that comforts parents is Donald’s musical talent and memory. When he was over 1 year old, his mother sang Christmas carols at home, and he was able to sing along word for word.
  In 1938, Donald’s parents found Professor Leo Kenner, a child psychologist at Hopkins University, with a 22-page long letter, which detailed a series of Donald’s weird behaviors. After a long period of close observation, Professor Kenner determined that it was “a condition not hitherto described in the psychiatric or other literature”. Since then, Professor Kenner began to look for and observe children with similar symptoms, and published a paper in 1943, naming their symptoms “autism”.
  Donald became “Patient No. 1”, but he was not abandoned by his family. Although withdrawn and eccentric, he was extremely intelligent, and it is said that his mathematical calculation ability was sometimes faster than the calculators of the time. With the support and guidance of his parents, he completed high school and attended Millsaps College to study mathematics and French. In college, he joined the choir relying on his musical talent. After graduating, he returned to his hometown to work in a bank founded by his mother’s family.
  He still hasn’t developed a complete emotional system, and he didn’t show much grief when his father died in a car accident in 1980 and his mother died of heart failure in 1985. He seldom chatted with people, but the people around him accepted his weirdness with love and tolerance: in church, he hit his friend in front of him with a slingshot made of rubber bands, and the friend was not angry, but turned around to greet him.
  He didn’t start a family. Golf and driving, which he learned at a young age, have become the most important interests and skills in his life. In addition to 28 states in the United States, he has also been to 36 countries: most of his journeys are only 6 days, After returning, he seldom keeps in touch with the people he met on the way. His greatest pleasure is photography, and he collects the people and scenes he has captured in the photo album, and then prepares for the next trip.
  In 2016, American journalists John Tang Wen and Karen Zuker wrote the stories of Donald and other autistic patients into a book called “A Different Tone”, which was introduced to China in 2019. In the recommended language , the editor wrote: “Every child with autism has possibilities beyond imagination. From being misunderstood, exiled and forgotten, to being discussed, accepted and supported, autism has gone through a period of change. The history of global social culture.” On
  June 15, 2023, 89-year-old Donald died of cancer at home. When he was dying, two reporters visited him. Later they wrote on social media: “He passed away peacefully at home. , surrounded by love and family, just like in life.”

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