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Monday, September 30, 2013

Daryl Hannah's "Silence"

The news media have reported on the "revelation" that actress Daryl Hannah says that she received an autism diagnosis as a child.  The headline on E! reads: "Daryl Hannah Breaks Her Silence on Autism Struggle."

Some silence:  she's been talking about it for decades.

The Sun Herald (Sydney, Australia), September 20, 1987:
Growing up in Chicago, Daryl Hannah seemed rarely in touch with reality. Her parents divorced when she was seven and she has little recollection of the following four years of her life. Diagnosed as semi-autistic by psychiatrists, Daryl withdrew into a magical mystery tour of her own mind.
"I probably lived a little too much inside my imagination. I used to see witches and leprechauns and stuff," she says. "I actually still remember these things as if they actually happened, so I kind of like to leave that time alone and not rip it apart. Anyway, I guess the psychiatrists thought, 'she's too far gone'.
The Toronto Star, March 1, 1992: 
For a time, when young, she became so introverted that school psychiatric counsellors feared she might be suffering from a form of autism. Taking acting classes as a young teenager at the Goodman dramatics school at night, after her regular high school classes, was doubtless good therapy.
The Palm Beach  Post, September 21, 1993:
Daryl's parents divorced when she was 7. Don Hannah, her father, owned a tugboat and barge company. Her mother, Sue Ferris, is descended from the inventor of the Ferris wheel. After the divorce, Hannah retreated into a state that was diagnosed as ``semi-autistic'' by the time she was 10. She said later she would see witches and leprechauns as though they were actually there. Institutionalization was recommended. Her mother, not an alarmist, took her to the Bahamas instead.
The Herald Sun (Melbourne, Australia), December 9, 2000:
Hannah admits she lived in a fantasy world when she was a child and, to some extent, still inhabits it. She created a world inside her head to combat the traumas that befell her during her childhood in Chicago. When she was seven, her parents divorced and she cut herself off from everyone, refusing to speak. Her withdrawal was so marked that a child psychologist diagnosed autism and suggested she be medicated and put in an institution.
"I think I suffered from social-anxiety syndrome and still do. I am, and always have been, uncomfortable in certain social situations, but in those days it was interpreted as autism.
"I'd been through a bad time and withdrew into myself. My mother didn't listen to the doctors and took me out of school for a year. If I'd been put on medication and institutionalised it would have been the end of me.
"My mother is an amazing woman. Like me, she looks at the world through different eyes. When I was born the doctors wanted to put me in leg braces because I didn't pass their flexibility tests, but my mother refused, waited until I was three and took me to ballet classes instead." 
Good Morning America, October 7, 2003:
DIANE SAWYER (Off Camera):  In fact, I, I'd never seen this before, but you said that when you were young, you were diagnosed as borderline autistic.
DIANE SAWYER: (Off Camera) And you think that in fact that was sort of paralyzing shyness and that the two are related.
DARYL HANNAH: I think that it definitely has some impact on my social ineptitude, yeah. It's, and also just the fact that I tend to, you know, go off in my imagination a lot and I'm uncomfortable around certain situations.