When you read articles by and about parents who may have one or two sons that are autistic, it gives one a glimpse at what those parents are doing with their own child(ren); you may question yourself and wonder should you imitate what they’re doing with their son(s). The thought may even cross your mind if you’re coming up short because you’re not doing the things that they’re doing with their special needs child. You may have read some of their research and assessments on autistic children, the pros and cons concerning childhood vaccinations, changing their diet and the list goes on. Then that voice in your head says”put the magazine down or get off that website, stop checking your email”. So you listen to that voice, you go to your son’s room and check on him, and low and behold there he is doing regular kid stuff; playing video games or watching his favorite movie. But, then there are those times that he does those quirky things like pacing back and forth with string in his hand while watching television or making funny noises. It’s when he has those moments, that you or your husband tell him, “okay, it’s time to cool out, just sit and watch the show.” He says okay and complies with your request. Problem solved.
One day after school, you go up to his room and knock on the door, he opens and you walk in and take a seat on his bed. He sits beside you as you chat about his school day and asks does he have homework. All the while you are looking at your son and all you see are smiling brown eyes and hear this deep Barry White voice and a smile lights up your face. Now you ask does my son look like he’s a special needs child?! No, he’s like most other 16 year old boys. After you and him are done talking, you say “thank-you Jesus” to yourself as you leave his room. Yeah, my child is autistic; no he’s like other kids. So what! if he has a little somethng about him that sets him apart, but, don’t we all have little idiosyncracies that make each of us different?
Autism has so many different levels, like most other disabilities it can be a little mind boggling. Because of the breakthroughs and development of medical science more information has been made available. Parents of autistic children now have choices open to them as to what resources are available and can be used to assist their child(ren). One website, Overcoming-Learning-Disabilities.com, states in a general overview, “high functioning autism and Asperger’s Syndrome are notable examples of conditions which are often thought of as disabling, but, the conditions are often accompanied by a higher level of intelligence in certain areas of the person’s life. In other words they’re gifted.”
This internet site also encourages people with disabilities to not give up on themselves, to be optimistic. If they see and know of some well known people who have disabilities overcome their situations and become successful in life, then they can too. These famous people had a way of leading by example: the sites acronym for the word autism: Always Unique Totally Interesting Sometimes Mysterious.
This same man/child that you beat yourself up about when tests confirmed he is autistic, has made great leaps and bounds in the 16 years he’s been here; that there is a blessing. It has been said people with disabilities have a place here in this world. They bring us back to our own humility, compassion and love we are to have for one another. The Bible says they are blessed. It has indeed been a blessing that this young man has never needed medical administration or to be put into a specialized school. It has been amazing that for him, good old fashion child rearing worked. He’s never been pampered or treated differently. One of his grandmother’s feels he’s the sweetest child on earth, of course grandma is a little biased, but, it’s all good. Love can do alot when given in the right doses, all at the right times. Of course the parents have always worked along with his teachers and child study team at school. They have done an excellent job in teaching and guiding this young person. All the hard work showed and paid off when he graduated grammar school (8th grade) and was one of two students to receive the Teacher’s Award. What a day of happiness and joy it was for his family, especially mom and dad, both teary eyed as they watched their son graduate.
Now, in high school, so far he is progressing well. Progress is the action word here. When children are in the right place where the atmosphere is conducive to producing positive things, this gives them the ammunition to move forward and do amazing things in their lives. It helps to know that you’re not alone in praying and working to ensure your child will become a productive member of society. Support is available from schools and organizations as well as advocates to assist and motivate parents. Regardless of a child’s level of disability, it is not the end, but, the beginning of a new lifestyle.
Those who had disabilities and made their mark on society: Helen Keller- author, political activist (blind & deaf); Albert Einstein- mathematican (learning disability); President Franklin D. Roosevelt- politican (polio); Leonardo da Vinci- artist, author and inventor (dyslectic) and such actors as Tom Cruise and James Earl Jones had learning disabilities. These people despite their disabilities achieved and continue to achieve their goals. This can and should give hope to all parents, even if it seems impossible. One can never say never.