Sunday, October 26, 2008

Why am I doing this?

My son was born on a cool October day a little more than 22 years ago. He was finally diagnosed with autism in the fall of 1992 when he entered kindergarten. I say finally, because from the first time he nursed, I suspected something was different about him. He had a noticeably large head, and was content only when sleeping. When he nursed, he would suddenly go from drawing very close to me to arching his back and crying. Every developmental milestone was delayed, from sitting up to walking to speech, especially speech. I am not a highly emotional individual, but sometime after he was two, he was finally able to convey to me in the middle of the night that he was crying because he wanted a bottle. I will never forget the joy I felt in that moment. I nearly cried.
The answer to the question, "Why am I doing this?" is simple. Back in the day, when all I could do was get up early, go to work, come home, feed the husband and child, bathe the baby, deal with meltdowns, read books to my baby and point to pictures in books, try to get him to say a word or two, collapse in bed from exhaustion, pray that morning wouldn't come so soon, and finally get up and repeat the entire routine; yes back in that day, there were no other parents around to consult with about autism. It was lonely, we didn't have much in common with other parents with normal children. But one thing was very good. There was also very little misinformation. There was no good advice, but there was no bad advice either. No one was telling us not to vaccinate our child, and there were no charlatans making promises if we'd only try their remedy. Yes, for the parents of an autistic child, those were the good old days.

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