POY RJI | Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute

Category: World Understanding Award


Antonio Faccilongo / Getty Images Reportage


Daniele Volpe / Freelance
“Ixil Genocide”


Anastasia Rudenko / Freelance


Salvatore Esposito / Contrasto
“La Forza del Silenzio”


“La Forza del Silenzio”

“La Forza del Silenzio” is the story of Gennaro and Maurizio Abate, two monozygotic autistic twins. Autism is a pathology of neurodevelopment that is characterized by communication (verbal and non-verbal) and personality disorder, therefore compromises the relationship with others. Not much is known yet about the triggering causes of the pathology for which there are not yet scientific answers for its resolution. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), autism spectrum disorders affect one in every 160 children in the world. According to the Italian Institute of Health, 500,000 families would be involved, and this is an alarming growing issue.

The parents of the twins, Enzo and Antonella, suffered a severe blow when the doctor formulated the diagnosis of autism to their children. At that moment all their youthful dreams of a normal life, of life expectancy on their children and of plans for the future were broken. For Enzo and Antonella it was and is very hard not to be able to communicate with their children, not being able to understand the moments in which they need help and having to see them often be prey to even prolonged nervous crises. During the years, but especially with love, the parents of the twins have learned to decode facial expressions, glances, little cries and various grimaces. They have succeeded in establishing non-verbal language that allows them to get in touch with their children. At the beginning Enzo and Antonella, the parents of autistic twins, had enormous problems because they could not find adequate institutional answers to their problem. Even many other families have faced the same difficulties. So the need arose to give an answer for themselves and do something for their children, Enzo and Antonella founded in Casal di Principe, the Association “La Forza del Silenzio” in a villa confiscated from the Camorra, specifically to the family Schiavone the most powerful of the Camorra in Caserta.