In this episode of the TiLT Parenting Podcast, I talk with Judith Newman, a journalist and the author of the new book To Siri, With Love: A Mother, Her Autistic Son, and the Kindness of Machines. Judith’s book is based on an essay of the same name she wrote for The New York Times about her autistic son Gus’s relationship with Apple’s electronic personal assistant, Siri, and specifically how Siri positively impacted the way Gus communicated with the outside world.
I had a chance to read an advance copy of Judith’s book, and was struck by its very honest, often humorous, and at times controversial peek into Judith’s world, as she shares stories from her life with Gus, his neurotypical twin Henry, and her husband. As you’ll hear from our conversation, in openly sharing what’s real in her world through this book, Judith hopes to help others, especially those who may not understand or relate to the experience of autistic people, feel more comfortable and accepting of those who are differently-wired. I hope you enjoy our conversation!
About Judith: Judith Newman is the author of To Siri With Love: A Mother, Her Autistic Son, and the Kindness of Machines. She writes about entertainment, science, business, beauty, and popular culture for a wide variety of publications, including The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Prevention, AARP, and National Geographic. As a book reviewer, she writes the column “Help Desk” in The New York Times Book Review, and reviews regularly for People. She is a contributing editor for Allure and Prevention, and has been widely anthologized and won numerous awards for her journalism. She has also co-authored several books, including The Girl: A Life In The Shadow of Roman Polanski. Earlier, Miramax published her memoir,You Make Me Feel Like An Unnatural Woman: Diary of a New (Old) Mother, about becoming a mother late(ish) in life.
THINGS YOU’LL LEARN FROM THIS EPISODE:
- Judith’s story and what led her to open up about her experiencing raising Gus
- Why Judith believes it’s important to share stories of the “average autistic kid”
- How Judith’s son Gus creatively used Siri to develop his fledgling communication skills
- What Judith hopes her book and message do in the world
- To Siri, With Love: How One Boy with Autism Became BFF with Apple’s Siri (original essay in The New York Times)