In this episode, we listen to three interviews recorded over the course of a decade that trace the journey of a young man diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), formerly referred to as Asperger’s Syndrome, from middle school through college and into the working world.
Early in 2006, Sarah Darer Littman brought her 12-year-old son, Josh, to a StoryCorps booth in New York City’s Grand Central Terminal. Josh wrote the questions for that interview, all of them original and never easy. Sarah had to navigate her way through answers to questions like, “Have you ever lied to me?” The honesty in her answers was striking, and their conversation became one of the most beloved radio broadcasts we have ever produced, and our first-ever animated short.
At the time of their interview, Josh was an honors student who was having a tough time socially. Josh has ASD, which makes it hard to read body language and other social cues. Their conversation and the positive response to it helped Josh manage a rough period of his life.
Then, in 2011, Sarah reached out to let us know that Josh, who was a freshman in college, was deeply depressed. She proposed having a second interview to try to get him to talk to her about it. At the end of that conversation, it didn’t seem as though Josh would make it through his first semester.
But in June 2017, just two weeks after his graduation ceremony, Josh and Sarah sat down for a third interview in which they reflect on the past decade and look toward the future.
Released June 9, 2017.