John Schneider - Actor

John Schneider, known to most as Bo from the popular 70's TV show, "The Dukes of Hazzard," is equally recognized from his regular appearance for five seasons on the acclaimed drama "Smallville" as 'Jonathan Kent'- the father of teenage 'Clark Kent.' Schneider was also a series regular as "Daniel," the sheriff on the popular CBS television series "Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman." Most recently starring in the hit Broadway musical Chicago, as the debonair Billy Flynn, John Schneider also makes his rounds this season in the popular TV series "Nip/Tuck."

In the non-profit arena, Schneider is well known for his work with Ausitm Speaks, the organization whose mission is to change the future for all who struggle with autism spectrum disorders. Schneider talks about his work and his very personal reasons for his involvement with Autism Speaks.

Read our blog about Autism...

Tell us about Autism Speaks. What is the mission of the organization and how are you involved?

Their mission is to educate people about autism and the people who fall into the autism spectrum. My involvement is raising funds for their cause as well as speaking to people, firsthand, about the experience of raising a wonderful young man who is among those on the spectrum.

People are often misinformed about Autism. What is the best piece of advice you can give those whose loved ones are diagnosed as autistic?

Autistic kids, as well as adults, are amazing people who we can learn from. I believe the best thing you can do is to help them focus on something they are truly interested in, and you will be amazed at what they can accomplish! For example, my son, Chasen, was interested in both the sport and history of body building when he was eleven. He focused and was published in two separate magazines on the sport with the byline "But what do I know..? I'm just a kid!" Published at eleven!

For someone with little time but with a desire to do charitable work, what would you suggest they do to get involved?

Everyone has something that tugs at their heart strings. Something that hits an emotional chord in their very being. Find that thing, look it up on the internet and see what you can do to help. This is important... don't respond to the barrage of "causes" that are tossed your way. Take a walk, a drive, talk with your spouse or best friend and discover what truly means something to you. They are all good causes but YOU can truly only be effective if the cause means something to you. That is why I helped start the Children's Miracle Network 25 years ago. A child's experience while in a hospital happens to really mean something to me. How kids on the autism spectrum are treated and how those around them are educated about their specifics is truly important to me. See?

You have been known to race a few cars in your day, both on and off camera. When did you realize your passion for cars? Were you inspired during your time on The Dukes Of Hazzard?

I have loved cars all of my life. In fact... I still have my collection of Corgey, matchbox, hot-wheel cars from when I was five! I used those little cars that mean so much to me in the movie I made last year about a race driver "Collier & Co. - Hot Pursuit". You can see them there!

We loved your performance on Broadway in Chicago as the smooth talking Billy Flynn! Do you prefer the theater or television? What's next For you?!

Thank you for that. I love doing live performing but do feel that it is a selfish exercise, at the moment, because it's keeping me away from my family. I suppose the most honest and accurate answer would have to be that I "...prefer whichever one I am doing at the time!"

Autism Speaks

What is Autism?
Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that typically lasts throughout a person's lifetime. It is part of a group of disorders known as autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Today, 1 in 150 individuals is diagnosed with autism, making it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined. It occurs in all racial, ethnic, and social groups and is four times more likely to strike boys than girls. Autism impairs a person's ability to communicate and relate to others. It is also associated with rigid routines and repetitive behaviors, such as obsessively arranging objects or following very specific routines. Symptoms can range from very mild to quite severe. Read more...

Warning Signs of Autism

  • No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
  • No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by nine months or thereafter
  • No babbling by 12 months
  • No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving by 12 months
  • No words by 16 months
  • No two-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months
  • Any loss of speech or babbling or social skills at any age