By Vittoria Woodill

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Meet bright eyed and lovable Leo. He’s 11-year-old and loves cooking with his mom Erica Daniels and his sister Scarlet.

Leo was diagnosed with autism when he was 21-months-old. “I kind of knew right away and never heard of autism besides Rainman, which is most people and that’s what I knew,” Daniels explained. “Autism is sort of having ADHD times a thousand.”

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Leo is a spirited home chef who loves to cook and it’s cooking that’s become a happy habit in their house with many added benefits. “He was very interested in cooking and that was one of the only ways I could engage him,” Daniels explained.

In their house, they don’t see autism. They just see Leo.

Daniels was inspired to write a cookbook titled, “Cooking With Leo.” The recipes in the book are inspired by his dietary restrictions.

Daniels does not have any formal training. She wrote an allergy-free autism family cookbook which draws inspiration from her Jewish and Italian roots.


Vittoria Woodill