Gary Cole Opens Up About Daughter's Autism
Russ Einhorn/Splash News Online
With Autism Awareness Month just around the corner in April, Gary Cole opens up in the latest issue of WebMD magazine about receiving the diagnosis for his daughter Mary in 1995. Although 1 in 150 children is currently diagnosed with the complex neurological disorder, at the time Gary says all he had to go on “was Rain Man.” The sharp increase in spectrum disorder diagnoses is something Gary is keenly aware of. He notes,
“It seems you can ask any friend, any relative and they’ll be able to tell you about someone they know with autism. Or direct you to a good doctor who can help.”
The 52-year-old actor — who currently appears on Entourage but is perhaps best known for the role of Bill Lumbergh in Office Space — says that he first suspected that something was amiss with Mary when she was two years old. “[She] didn’t process information like you or I do, and did not pick up on social cues,” he explains. His advice for others is simple:
“Seek answers, and the earlier the better.”
Noting that “your original agenda as a parent is set aside” as soon as the diagnosis of autism is made, Gary is grateful that Mary — now 16 — has gone on to lead a relatively normal life. After receiving therapy as a young child and with the help of a personal aide, she went on to attend mainstream elementary and middle schools in California, where she now goes to a special learning facility for high school.
Mary is the only child for Gary and actress Teddi Siddall, whom he married in 1992.