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Dear Leonardo DiCaprio: You Helped Me Succeed as a Person With Autism

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Dear Leonardo DiCaprio,

When anyone goes after something in his or her lives, a word that often comes up in the conversation is the need for “commitment.” Growing up with a passion for film, watching your commitment as an actor, to take on different characters and to shine in them, has had an incredible impact in my development. 

My journey with the word “commitment” started when I was diagnosed with autism at 4.  Theater therapy was something that helped me progress when many other things wouldn’t. I instantly became one of your fans when I got involved with theater and then later started watching films. I saw your commitment in your films right off the bat. I would try to mimic that type of commitment in my roles on stage.

I couldn’t explain what it was in your roles until I read about the months on end you would take before each role to prepare both physically and mentally to command your performance. That was something I wanted to do.

Later, I’d learn this commitment I was putting into my acting was something I needed to put more and more into my therapies. You can often feel stretched to the limit when you have to juggle physical, speech and occupational therapy, but stretching is something I could see in you as you stretched yourself to film several movies at once. You could make it through all of that. It made me realize I could do that also.

From my therapies I turned to doing well in school, and maybe most importantly, proving people wrong about what I would be able to achieve in my life.

As I followed your career into my teens, I got to know more about your work helping others. That’s something I admire as someone who started community service for the first time in high school. I later wanted to become a disability advocate to help those with special needs like me.

After following your work for years, and everything you do for others, I would like to commend you. When I think about commitment as an adult who has been able to overcome obstacles to become a speaker, author and film consultant, I can only hope those who read this, regardless of their age, disability or gender, know they can achieve anything they want in their lives. I hope they can have the same type of commitment you have shown time and time again in your career.

Congratulations on your success and for everyone you have inspired and will certainly inspire in the future.

Your friend,


A version of this post originally appeared on

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Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images

Originally published: January 27, 2016
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