Among all the evil twins, people coming back from the dead, and other wild storylines, soaps have always used their platform to tell stories that address real social issues facing society. And in the case of GENERAL HOSPITAL’s current autism storyline, the telling is even more special because the young actor playing Leo, Easton Rocket Sweda, is autistic himself.
“Hi, I’m Easton Rocket Sweda,” he said in a video shared on Instagram, “and I’m Leo from GENERAL HOSPITAL, the famous soap opera. Yesterday, he got diagnosed by autism, but you know what’s cool? I have autism, too!
“I was diagnosed when I was very young,” Sweda continued. “And I couldn’t speak until I was four. And now look at me. I have a cool life and kids with autism are cool. You have a good life too with autism. Bye.” He waved and blew a kiss, then quickly added, “Happy new year!”
The comments naturally flooded with love and support and praise for the way GH is handling this particular storyline. And his TV mom, Lisa LoCicero (Olivia) had to join in. “You are so wonderful, TV son!” she exclaimed. “I feel very blessed to tell this story with you.”
Sweda’s television father, Wally Kurth (Ned) also shared on Twitter that he has personal experience with autism in his real life. “As a parent of a son with ASD,” he wrote, “I always say ‘It’s a journey.’ Its unexpected twists and turns have made me a better father, a better man. I wouldn’t trade it.”
Kurth’s Instagram feed is also filled with videos of the beach where his son clearly loves spending time swimming, and it seems mostly at sunset, when the sky looks particularly amazing. The actor also occasionally includes the hashtag “#giftofautism.”
Keep watching GH to see how Leo’s storyline progresses and to enjoy the heartfelt writing and Emmy-worthy performances from the actors involved.
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