Charlie, the oldest of Lamb’s two sons, has nonverbal autism — a form of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that prevents him from speaking.“When he was still a toddler, all of a sudden, Charlie just stopped talking. He said a few words and he just stopped. Stopped looking at us. Didn’t want to be around other people. Was in his own world,” she says.Around this same time, Lamb began to write. She built a blog as an outlet — a means of communicating candidly in the ways she couldn’t with her son. Now, four years later, The Autism Cafe has more than 160,000 Instagram followers — and Lamb has become something of an icon for parents of children with disabilities across the country.Like Charlie, Eileen Lamb has a version of autism spectrum disorder. While undiagnosed as a child, she began to recognize some of her own tendencies in Charlie’s when specialists gave names to his behavioral patterns.“After [Charlie] was diagnosed with autism, my mom kept telling me that [the diagnosis] wasn’t possible because I had been the exact same way as a child,” Lamb says. “I started reading about autism in adults, and then I decided to go through a therapeutic assessment — 20 hours of testing with a doctor.”
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