Saturday, April 07, 2007

Just A Boy

I met a father and mother with an autistic pre-teen in the doctors office. We spent a little time talking to the parents and the one thing that struck me was the mother saying, that he understands EVERYTHING. He was non-verbal but looking at him and his mannerisms and his eyes, I could tell right away that he was there inside. He had great difficulty getting himself 'out', to say something, to react and interact with the environment we have for him. I told him as he was going in "See ya, do your best". I really did not know what to say, I had no magical words of encouragement to make him understand that he could maybe get passed all this.

I'm sorry all of you that find the the good in these situations; believe me, I find the same joy there as well. But this child NEEDS something. I'd like to say 'cure' but I know that is not the PC thing to say. But his autism is paralyzing him; MANY children are being paralyzed by the symptoms of autism. I'm not so sure that "hey, we're happy, everything's going great here, thanks" is the attitude to portray to everyone. I know, the 'life's horrible for the parents' angle is no good here either, but what about for the child? How can we extricate him from his prison? What if, God forbid, his parents are not as in tuned, financially stable or patient as the parents I met. Can society find and help these kids?

I dunno, I know I should not feel pity, but I did. I felt sorry for his situation, that he may never find his niche in life. Just like the NT may not find the right profession, the right soul-mate, the right education to achieve all they can be; it is 100X more difficult for an autistic person, especially one as profoundly affected as this child. I'm glad he had seemingly caring parents and he will gain every opportunity they can give him, I just fear for him because I think I know what he could be capable of and what his chances of actually achieving that capability are.
Sorry to be on a downer just before the Resurrection, I just hope he can find that miracle that will bring him new life...do your best...

1 comment:

GG said...

Mr. Bill,
I know what you're saying in this post. It must have been tough to witness what some of us fear so much.
There are no right answers, no easy ones, either. This boy that you met, he may have a full life that you know nothing about. His mind is active and aware, and he has parents who love him and support him. Words are not necessary to everyone, and truthfully, some of us just need to shut the hell up once in a while (ME, not YOU).
I have some of the same fears as many other parents of auties--Will he have friends? Will he find a girl to love and who will love him back? Will he get a decent education and job that makes him happy and financially secure? These are the same exact fears I have for all of my kids, but with Eli, there is more of a concern, obviously.
The bottom line for me is that the future is uncertain for all of us. There is no magic bullet, and certainly no cure, so we just keep plugging away one day at a time.
It's nice of you to feel concern for a boy you met in the office that day. You have a kind heart. :)