When you get the diagnosis of Autism in your family, it is a lot like when you get a new car. You know what I am talking about. You do all this research on your new purchase. You want an automobile that meets your needs, has your favorite color, all of your required, unique specs! Then the car comes home, and you notice there are other people driving a car like yours.
It is like that with Autism. Before, when I heard the word, I didn't know a lot about it, but I did know that I prayed I would never have a child with Autism ( I really did), and that it seemed like a death sentence to those who had it. Then Autism enters our life...and every time you hear or see the word Autism, whether it be in print, news, or in passing, you are drawn to it.
The weekend after Brent and I received the educational diagnosis, we went straight to Barnes and Noble and bought every book we could on Autism and read them. We stormed the internet, we couldn't get enough information.
A glimpse of the future...while doing all of this, the real lingering pang was that I didn't even care about the here and now with Sam, I wanted to know his future. All parents hope, dream and wonder what the future holds for their child. If they will marry, if they will be grandparents, if their child will be happy. Now, our focus changed......would he be able to live on his own if he wants to as an adult, will he have meaningful relationships with people in his life that he can share love and laughter with besides family, will he have a job/career that is fulfilling and makes him feel needed? We just want to know what his life will look like.
A glimpse of the future...we see it occasionally. We see children older than him at therapy each week, who look like they are functioning, learning, etc... I am so intrigued when I meet another family with Autism in their life, to see what their child looks like, and how does Sam compare.
A glimpse of the future...we find it occasionally. I constantly read blogs at autistics.org to understand the way they think. It is inspiring, interesting, and hopeful to understand Sam more and what he might be like.
A glimpse of the future...we can watch it occasionally. Sometime this year, the movie "Snow Cake" starring Sigourney Weaver will be released. It is about a mother who is Autistic. A chance to see a portrayal of an adult with Autism in the movies other than Rainman.
A glimpse of the future...we can witness it occasionally. Like yesterday, which is what inspired me to write today.
Yesterday, when 17 year old, Jason McElwain, scored 20 points in the last 4 minutes of a high school basketball game. With 18 of those points coming from 3 point shots, and the other one had his foot on the line. He got his chance to shine, and he too has Autism. While I know nothing about his individual journey with Autism, I know everything about how that mom must feel!
A glimpse of the future...we can never take in too much of the word Autism. We can never see too much of it, like when you notice that new car of yours being driven by others too. Sam is our own unique 2002 model loaded with extras. His Autism is not the enemy in our home, it is our friend. It is our son. It is our hope, that he gets every opportunity to be who he wants to be in the future, and not what we want him to be!