Autism Acceptance Month 2022 Archives - StoryCorps

A Visit to the ER Takes an Unexpected Turn

When Ellen Hughes’ son Walker tried a new medication, it was supposed to help him calm down. It wound up doing the opposite.

Thirty-three year old Walker became agitated and violent. Walker has autism and struggled to communicate what was going on. But his mom Ellen knew they had to get to a hospital.

When they arrived at Loyola University Medical Center near Chicago, Walker bit Ellen. That’s when they encountered Public Safety Sergeant Keith Miller. At StoryCorps, Ellen told Keith how he helped her son — and herself — get the care they needed that day.


Top photo: Keith Miller and Ellen Hughes at the Chicago StoryBooth in February 2019. Photo by Rocio Santos for StoryCorps.
Bottom photo: Walker Hughes with his mom Ellen Hughes. Courtesy of Ellen Hughes.

Originally aired April 12, 2019, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Brothers Living with Autism on Navigating Through Work and Life

Russell Wadsworth, 28, and his brother Remmick, 27, have been inseparable their entire lives.

They both have autism, and as kids, they had trouble with social interactions. But being just a year apart meant that they always had one another to lean on.


Including today, as they navigate the working world as two men in their twenties. At StoryCorps, Remmick talked about their experiences working together in a coffee shop.

Top photo: Russell Wadworth (L) and his younger brother, Remmick, in Temple Terrace, FL.
Middle photo: Remmick Wadsworth (L) and his older brother, Russell, c. 1994.

Originally aired April 5, 2018, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Russell Lehmann and David Apkarian

Air travel can be a stressful experience for just about anyone. But for 26-year-old Russell Lehmann, a flight delay or cancellation isn’t just a small inconvenience. He was diagnosed with autism at age 12, and unexpected changes can cause him to have a meltdown — when sensory overload causes him to lose control and break down crying.

That’s what happened when he tried to catch a flight from Reno, Nevada to Cincinnati. At StoryCorps, Russell sat down with David Apkarian, an airline employee, to remember that difficult day.


Russell is a poet and advocate for autism awareness who regularly speaks about his experiences on the autism spectrum. Learn more about him and his work here.

Originally aired September 22, 2017, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Bottom photo: Russell Lehmann and David Apkarian on the day of Russell’s meltdown, June 3, 2017. Courtesy of Russell Lehmann.

Q & A

In early 2006, 12–year–old Joshua Littman, who was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, formerly referred to as Asperger’s Syndrome, interviewed his mother, Sarah, at StoryCorps. Their one–of-a–kind conversation covered everything from cockroaches to Sarah’s feelings about Joshua as a son.

Para subtítulos en español, haga click en el ícono de YouTube en la esquina derecha, y escoja “Spanish” bajo la opción de “settings” y “subtitles/CC.”