Our son Gavin was five years old when we learned he was probably autistic. When his doctors told us there was no cure but that he almost certainly didn’t have it, we couldn’t believe it. We didn’t want to believe it. Our son? Maybe autistic? No, couldn’t be. We wanted a second opinion.
I started Googling immediately. I knew from watching The View that putting Gavin on a special diet was the only way to cure him of his autism. We started by eliminating sugar, soy, meat, dairy, gluten, and anything “yummy” from his diet (yummy is a word Gavin uses to mean “tastes good”). At first it seemed like it was working; when I asked him if he wanted more kale, he looked directly at me directly in the eye and said “No. I hate kale.” My heart soared—the treatment was clearly working. But eventually Gavin stopped responding entirely to my questions about kale.
After that, we tried countless other autism cures—vitamin C, tanning, vigorous exercise—but nothing was working. When Gavin’s teachers coldly refused to integrate Jillian Michaels’ “Ripped In 30” into the school’s physical education curriculum, we were ready to give up.
Then one night, everything changed.
I was sitting on my couch watching my favorite film of all time, Pretty Woman, when it happened. It was a scene I’d seen many times before: My heart began to pound, my palms started to sweat, and deep excitement began to rise in me. That’s when it hit me. I knew what we needed to do.
“Oh my god”, I shouted. My husband ran into the room, asking what was wrong. “I know how to fix Gavin,” I said. He stared at me, and then at the TV. Then we looked at each other and simultaneously whispered, “Fashion montage.”
We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We were going to need the support of our entire community: friends, family, fashion boutiques, camera crews, sassy gay friends, sound technicians, makeup artists and zany fitting-room assistants. But with the help of family, friends and obscene amounts of money, we pulled it together. This was it.
From the moment the first strains of Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” began blaring from the overhead speakers, we noticed an immediate change in Gavin’s behavior.
“He just started bending and snapping. I’ve never seen anything like it!”, marveled Doris, an employee at Sassy’s. But once we got him out of that frumpy OshKosh getup and into the fitted Dior number, things really started to ramp up. With each new outfit, Gavin’s symptoms lessened and were replaced with traits we’d never seen before. As soon as “Anaconda” came on, Gavin started pounding that fucking catwalk like the fierce bitch he was born to be.
I can’t tell you what it was like to see Gavin totally owning his new look while befriending the most popular guys in school through multiple camera angles.
But the real change happened when we took Gavin’s glasses off.
It was as if he were a completely different person. Suddenly, our little probably-autistic son was feeling himself in a way the doctors never told us he would.
“Brad, look,” I said, as Gavin winked nonchalantly at the cutest girl in the school. ” he’s walking in slow motion.”
As Charli XCX’s “Boom Clap” began to fade out, we knew that we had succeeded. We had fixed Gavin. It was hard work, but we’d do it all over again. Why? Because like all good parents, we’re willing to do anything it takes to help our son live a normal, happy, stylish life.