Robin's Story

by Karen Callender Caplan

Robin as a newborn, 1959
Baby Robin, 1959

Robin Kitt Callender was born in February 1959 in New York. She was the youngest of six children.


Before she was even six months old, it became apparent that she was not developing the way she should. She was slow to sit up and didn't walk until she was four years old.

Karen aged 17 with Robin aged 5.
Karen, aged 17, with Robin, then aged 5.

Doctors at the time had a very poor understanding of her condition; it was not until she was in her teens that she was finally diagnosed with autism and learning disabilities.


She never learned to talk, although she would mimic certain words or sounds from about the age of eleven or so. Robin always had, however, a fairly good understanding of what people said to her and was able to communicate through gestures and sounds.

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