IRISH American actor Aidan Quinn, talked with the Sunday Independent last week while on assignment in Co. Cork filming The Eclipse, by the noted playwright Conor McPherson. Quinn discussed several subjects in the interview, but what really stood out most was what he had to say about his 19-year-old daughter Ava Quinn, who is non-verbal and suffers from autism.
Aidan and his wife Elizabeth Bracco (sister of Lorraine Bracco of the Sopranos) say that their daughter has been a real joy in their lives, but treating her condition hasn’t been easy for the family, which also has a younger 10-year-old daughter. “It is a blessing and a curse. It has its blessings as well,” Quinn says in his interview. His daughter Ava was a perfectly normal baby, until she got vaccinated.
“So we had a normal child that was walking, talking, doing everything way faster than she was supposed to. Then, after an MMR, she got a 106 fever and turned blue and woke up the next day with dark circles and not knowing who she was. And uncoordinated. And her arm lifted up. Of course the doctors are all saying, “Oh, that’s normal.”
The worst, Quinn says, was hearing his child “crying uncontrollably and in pain and nobody can tell you what to do to help. And there is nothing showing up on any of the tests. But you know your daughter is in pain.” He also talked about the strain that it put on his marriage, but he and his wife survived, against the odds. “I think the divorce rate in autism parents is some horrendous figure like 75 per cent. If you get through the first five or six years with autism that’s the most difficult part,” he says.
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Quinn says that Ava now “does have a guy that she grew up with, that she’s very keen on and they are very keen on each other. And they do give each other … it is delight seeing them together, these two autistic adults now. And when they are together, the way they eye each other out of the corner of their eyes and laugh at each other. My daughter doesn’t really speak. So sometimes you’re guessing at what’s going on.”
Read the entire interview with Aidan Quinn.
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