Many people, more knowledgeable than I for sure, have posted profound essays about autism. Many books have been written about the subject as well. I have a read a few blogs and essays, but now I find myself researching in earnest due to a friendship that has blossomed. Once the friendship cemented and started to grow, I found myself fascinated by my friend’s oldest child. He, as you probably guessed, has autism. Or maybe autism has him. I’m still deciding how I “should” think (according to the experts.)
Some get offended if I say “an autistic child” because they feel that I stress the autism when the child matters more. They prefer the use of “a child with autism.” Other experts preach that parents shouldn’t wish for their autistic child to not have autism as it would change the specialness of said child. I’ve reached the point where I throw the bull crap flag at that view. I, for one, would like to know who that sweet child would be without the influence of autism. It would be such a gift for that child to be able to tell me what he is wishing for, thinking, feeling. I consider autism a disease, not a special quality.
I’ve been a problem solver all of my life, and this situation isn’t any different. It’s actually one of the most important puzzles I’ve ever seen. The maddening part is that I have no idea how to figure it out. That does not mean, however, that I will simply shrug and walk away. I’ve seen my friend cry too many tears to stand by and do nothing.
After falling in love with my friend’s littles, I have discovered a cold, hard truth: autism is painful. It hurts a parent’s heart to watch the wall build up, all the while removing a child from the rest of the family. Autism shreds a parent’s heart piece by piece. Anyone who loves the child is affected.
With the current diagnosis rate of 1 out of every 68 children, maybe we all need to do some studying!