Rosie O’Donnell is opening up about her experience as a parent, describing her 9-year-old daughter Dakota’s autism as a “gift” and revealing that she has learned a lot by communicating with her.
The TV personality, who recently took her relationship with girlfriend Aimme Hauer to the next level, gave an emotional statement to People, about how it felt at first to learn about Dakota’s diagnosis. How she has been able to connect with her in different ways, in comparison to her other kids, 27-year-old Parker, 25-year-old Chelsea, 22-year-old Blake, and 19-year-old Vivienne.
Rosie says she “really listen and communicate in a way I never had to with my other kids,” admitting that her daughter has taught her “compassion” on a deeper level.
“I didn’t want Dakota to feel shame about her diagnosis. I have told her from the start that autism is her superpower. I hear her announcing to strangers, “My name is Dakota. I’m 9 and I have allergies and autism.” It’s like a different operating system,” she said.
The comedian also confessed that learning about her diagnosis felt like “a punch in the stomach,” however she now has a different perspective and sees her daughter as an “angel” that fell into her life.
“The things she knows — about sea anemones and tide pools. I got to 60 not knowing about the Mariana Trench. Now I know all about it!” Rosie revealed, explaining that “her ability to absorb information is unparalleled.”
The actress adopted Dakota back in 2013 when she was married to Michelle Rounds. “Dakota’s autism forces me to see the world from a completely different place. She’s a gift from another dimension,” Rosie concluded. “It’s been a wonderfully magical experience. I’m so glad we have each other.”