Titanic star Kate Winslet graces the March 2012 cover of Ladies’ Home Journal and opens up about motherhood and her new book, The Golden Hat: Talking Back to Autism. While Kate’s children – daughter Mia, 11 and son Joe, 8 – don’t have autism, the Oscar-winner is on a mission to dispel myths and raise awareness for people living autism.
On the biggest misunderstanding about children with autism: “That they are not capable of understanding anything, that they are completely locked in their own worlds and aren’t paying attention to anything around them or that they are disinterested. Even those closest to them sometimes believe that. And so often that proves not to be the case.”
On if she’s ever worked with children with disabilities: “Yes, I was a spare pair of hands at a summer camp for disabled children when I was a teenager and there were kids there of varying disabilities. There was this beautiful tall young man who was 20 or 21. I won’t say he was treated unfairly, but because he didn’t speak, moved slowly and had significant sensory issues, nobody knew how to handle him. So it was a case of just managing his day. But there were moments when I would look him in the eye, and he would look at me, and I knew there was somebody in there. And I never forgot that experience. In retrospect, he was probably autistic.”
On feeling the importance of giving back in a profound way: “Well, my father is disabled – he lost his foot in an accident when I was young. It was awful, it caused all sorts of problems, both physically and psychologically – and for a while my family was supported by a charitable trust. So I understand on a very personal level what a charitable organization can do.”
On what motherhood means to her: “For me, motherhood is not about signing the check to get your kids and the best school; it’s about giving them the freedom to be who they are.”