Hats off to Kate Winslet, who has asked “Titanic” costar Leonardo DiCaprio, Angelina Jolie, Justin Timberlake, and other A-listers to don a fedora in support of autism .
Celebs had to take a picture wearing the “golden” hat (from Winslet’s closet) and answer the question: “if you could only say one thing, what would that be?” The resulting 100 self-portraits are featured in The Golden Hat: Talking Back to Autism. Proceeds from the book will go towards the Golden Hat Foundation , which looks to eliminate the barriers for people with autism worldwide. Co-Founded by Winslet in 2010, the organization was inspired by one mother’s efforts to help another.
In 2009, the actress narrated a documentary about a young Icelandic boy named Keli Thorsteinsson living with severe nonverbal autism. While researching for “A Mother’s Courage,” his mother Margret Ericsdottir (Golden Hat co-founder), realized that the then 10-year-old could pick out sentences from a letter board.
“It was a total breakthrough. He had never communicated before,” Ericsdottir told the Daily News. “He had been diagnosed as having the mind of a 2-year-old.”
Two years later, Keli has been mainstreamed at school and excels with a 3.8 GPA.
Winslet, a mother of two, says she became very close to Ericsdottir while working on the film. However, the severity of the condition didn’t hit until her daughter, who watched the documentary, turned and said, “Could you imagine if I couldn't tell you I loved you?”
The thought was mind blowing Winslet tells USA Today. “I had this feeling of, ‘I need to do something else.’ It wasn't just a case of ‘what can I do to help the cause?’ It was something much more profound than that.”
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) are a group of developmental disabilities that can cause serious social, communication, and behavioral challenges. An average of one in every 110 children in the U.S. has an ASD.
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