I Could Only Imagine
At least once a day, I find myself daydreaming about the future...what it will bring, and how it would be different, if I had been dealt a different hand. I think about what I would do if I won the lottery, what I would do if I were accepted to the Law School of my dreams...I could only imagine all of the possibilities that would come my way.
Then I think about something much more important...My Son. As most of you know, my son was born with Autism, although we didn't know it until he was diagnosed at 5, after starting Kindergarten. We knew from birth that there was something different about him...his ability to notice things that no one else could see; like those clear plastic pieces that hold tags on clothes, hidden in the fibers of the carpet. How watchful he was of things that rotated; he would watch the ceiling fan for hours. How fearless he was; heights, speed, dogs...things that scared other babies, didn't bother him.
As he got older, he seemed to hit all of his milestones, except for one; he didn't speak. He made noises, and gestures, we even taught him how to sign, but rarely was a word actually uttered. We thought we could help him, but by Kindergarten, he was still basically non-verbal, and during the second week of school we were told that we needed to have him evaluated, for what the school thought was ADHD.
The psychologist that came to the house, had barely stepped in the front door, when she saw how my son was reacting, and she uttered the words that I had not even thought about..."Its not ADHD, its AUTISM"
Fast forward a few years, and he has made immense improvement, with the help of a team of educators. Still there are times, when he is so frustrated because he doesn't understand, or can't focus, or can't express himself, that we find ourselves in full blown meltdown mode. People have asked me if I want a cure for Autism, and I have a hard time answering that, because I don't want to CURE him, after all, he isn't a disease, but I do want to make life easier for him.
I could only imagine, how life would be for him, if he didn't have Autism...would he be able to ride a bike like other kids his age? Would he be able to focus for more than 5 or 10 minutes, on any given task? Would the other kids want to be friends with him, instead of asking why he is weird? Would he be able to do things that aren't aggravated by his sensory processing disorder? Would I be confident knowing that my son won't need me forever? Would he have some sense of danger? Because right now, none of those are questions that can be answered the same way everyday.
Autism is hard for everyone, but mostly for my son...he knows he is different, he will likely always have to be in special education, and there is a chance that he will never live on his own. I will never stop trying to help my son, I will never stop trying to make people understand that he isn't a brat that needs a spanking, but a child that is overwhelmed by everything going on around him. I will never stop wondering what is going on inside his mind, and trying to help him let it out. I will never stop wanting my son to give me a hug, or a kiss, and I will treasure the few times I get either one.
I could only imagine, how life would be for all of us, if Autism didn't exist...