Let me start by saying that my son is the poster child for autism spectrum disorder. He has all the stereotypical behaviors such as repetitive noise making, swaying/rocking/jerky movements, and that corner of the eye watching of others. I know all about autism and how it impacts a family. It’s the first thing you see when you look at my son christian and that isn’t always a bad thing. I realize that autism is a part of my son there is no avoiding that. I like to think my son has autism and not that autism has my son. I look at him and to me his autism is much like when your tv is on, but you’re not watching it. You can hear it the tv, but you pay it no mind. You know it’s there, but it’s not the main focus. Autism should never be the main focus. The person on the spectrum should always be the center stage.

We brought our son home as a newborn thinking he was precious and perfect. We already picture how many things he would do with his future. The future many parents vision for their sons. I saw him as maybe athletic, possibly some big shot lawyer, and I never considered he would be handicapped. By 18 months we knew there was something not quite right, and I told his doctor that either my son was autistic or he was deaf. Four months, and several tests later we had the results. My son is most definitely autistic. We now have our diagnosis, he has autism, so what do you do? We excepted this wholeheartedly and moved on. Not to say this was cake and we never ever struggled, because we did struggle along the way.

The first five years he didn’t sleep more than a few hours at a time. We had to sleep in rotating shifts. I have to admit I broke down a few times and cried from sleep deprivation. We were terrified he would get out of the house in the night and be killed. We still some times have nightmares he does something and we can’t get to him in time. Paranoia? Well maybe a little, but with excellent reason! Christian has pica(the consumption of inedible things), he has no awareness of danger, and he is a flight risk. I worry and I fret but every mom does and every dad too. It’s just part of the job title I think.

We have come along way with Christian and it wasn’t an easy venture. With all the uphill climbs there are so many great things to make it more than worth the effort of a mount Everest expedition. He puts his arm around our shoulders and pulls our head to his chest hugging us; man nothing feels as good as that does. He’ll reach over and take our hand and just hold it; again nothing can beat that. My son Christian is the most loving and excited kid you could ever meet. Maybe he can’t say to me and my husband or his brothers “I love you” in actual words, but he has his own little ways. We talk to him just like anybody else. He likes when you say things like “Hey Christian, what’s up buddy?”. He’ll jump up and down and squeal his excitement when he knows he’s being included. He is just as loving and amazing as my other children are.

I made the decision to donate part of the royalties from all my book sales to the autism society in part for my own son, but also for every other “poster child” there is in this world. It’s difficult to understand, and it can be so scary in the beginning. We need the education and resources of places such as the autism society. We have adaptive equipment for Christian and we use the websites to keep informed about even more adaptive equipment as it becomes available. That equipment will help him be more independent and I hope thrive outside the safety net of our home. It’s a worthy cause and one that literally hits home for me! I just wanted to explain why I chose the autism society. As well as to let other people who deal with autism like I do know that I truly know and I respect you and all the struggles you face.

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