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    Days of Our Lives - NEWS ROOM

    In our 'Days Of Our Lives' News Room, keeps you up-to-date with the latest Soap Opera news on the net. We also feature interviews with the soap stars, as well as local appearances by the actors and actresses.

    Days Autism Storyline from Head Writer's Life.

    Tuesday, June 10 2008

    Dena Higley (ABC)
    Earlier in the month, broke a groundbreaking story within an interview with Days of Our Lives' James Reynods, who portrays Abe Carver, the father of Theo Carver, who we'll soon to find out has Autism. In a recent interview, Renee Jones discussed the storyline briefly. Based on the experiences of the show's new head writer, Dena Higley, and her autistic son, NBC joins with Autism Speaks, which is the nation’s leading autism advocacy organization, to help convey a message of hope and useful information during the course of the storyline. This storyline will progress well into the summer, when
    Dr. Lexi Carver (Renee Jones) and Commissioner Abe Carver (James Reynolds), are told their 3-year-old son, Theo, has autism. The news is difficult for the couple to comprehend, but through the love and support of family and friends, and the love for their son, they learn a lot about their family and how to cope with this new challenge.

    The Higleys’ son, Connor, was diagnosed with Autism at age three. At19 years old, he recently graduated from high school. Higley and her husband’s personal struggles and triumphs of raising a son with autism, plus three other children, are why she is so passionate about sharing her story with hundreds of thousands of others.

    Higley says,“We're telling the profound and life-altering story of a child with autism from his parents' point of view, their pain, their struggle and ultimately, their ability to find life-affirming hope in the midst of learning how to live day to day with this disability. This is a personal story for my husband and I have walked in the shoes Abe and Lexi are now about to walk in.”

    NBC’s Senior Vice President of Daytime and Drama Programming. Bruce Evans says, "I am thrilled that ‘Days’ has decided to take on this very important topic. We are hopeful that this storyline will serve as a resource for our viewers, many of whom have already been touched by this critical issue."

    “This storyline realistically portrays the emotional trauma that every family faces when a child is diagnosed with autism, yet it also opens a window for viewers to see the hope and achievements that are possible as a family pulls together," said Alison Singer, Executive Vice President of Communications and Awareness for Autism Speaks. "We are honored to work with ‘Days of our Lives’ and applaud the show's commitment to shine a bright spotlight on the autism crisis and its effects on the whole family."

    In order to share the storyline responsibly, “Days of our Lives” has joined with Autism Speaks, the nation's leading nonprofit organization devoted to autism. The partnership between “Days of our Lives,” whose loyal audience extends across generations for over 42 years, and Autism Speaks will help promote awareness about a disorder that is diagnosed in one in every 150 children in the United States.

    Seven-time Emmy-nominated writer, Dena Higley, actually began her career at Days of Our Lives' in 1985, where she was a staff writer for 19 years. She returned in 2008 as head writer.

    Higley is married to husband of 21 years, Mark, and they've raised four children - two biological and two adopted. As stated previously, their eldest, son Connor, was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3. Now 19, Connor drives his own Mustang, has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, recently graduated from high school and is preparing to go to college in Florida in the fall. Jensen, their second oldest, now 18 years old, is about to enter USC as a theater major. Helio, their third eldest, was adopted in 2003 from Ethiopia at age 8, and is now 13 years old and going into 7th grade. Adelle, the youngest, was adopted from Vietnam at 17 months in 1997 with her right leg missing below the knee and her fingers fused together. She is now a cheerleader, plays volleyball and is graduating from sixth grade.

    Still unsure what Autism is about? Autism is a complex brain disorder that inhibits a person's ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by extreme behavioral challenges. Autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed in one in 150 children in the United States, affecting four times as many boys as girls. The diagnosis of autism has increased tenfold in the last decade. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.

    Autism Speaks is dedicated to increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders, to funding research into the causes, prevention and treatments for autism, and to advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Suzanne and Bob Wright, who are the grandparents of a child with autism, founded Autism Speaks in February 2005. Bob Wright is Senior Advisor at Lee Equity Partners and served as vice chairman, General Electric, and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal for more than twenty years. Wright also serves on the board of directors of the Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation, RAND Corporation and Mission Product, LLC. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit Autism Speaks.

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    Posted by McMaddy at Tuesday, June 10 2008 12:00 PM

    If autism is in the soaps then surely this is a major breakthrough?
    Best wishes

    Posted by licat3 at Monday, June 16 2008 07:39 AM

    May I say...IT'S ABOUT TIME!!! I have a son, Sam, who is 12 years old and was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, an Autism spectrum disorder, when he was 5 years old. I am so happy that days of our lives has decided to shed some light on the topic of Autism from the parents point of view. The everyday challenges we face when it comes to our children. I just hope Lexie and Abe get plenty of screen time to share this with the viewers! BRAVO DOOL!!!

    Posted by jodyice at Tuesday, September 16 2008 10:46 AM

    I, as well, am happy to see a storyline in this direction. My son is 16 and was diagnosed with PDD (Pervasive Developmental Disorder), when he was 11. He also is deaf. Until someone has walked in our shoes, they can't truly know what it's like.
    Once again, kudos to DOOL.

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