My ninth son, Jude Christopher, is three years old and mildly autistic. He says only one word and he says it repeatedly and very well; “No”. He likes to spend most of the time alone, he gets angry often and for no easily discernible cause, and his fits of rage are as unpredictable as they are uncontrollable. He needs very little sleep. It is a challenge for any parent and no easier if you’ve raised 10 other “normal” children.
His Mother does not like that I tell people he is autistic. She likes to say that he is ‘on the spectrum’. I find this is the way moms and professionals dull the diagnosis. It is true that not all autistic kids are the same, and at three years of age, he doesn’t suffer from some of the same burdens others do. She prays for a miracle but takes him to therapy twice a week and hopes to have him in a tailored program soon. I pray for a miracle but am prepared for a different life for and with him.
Neither Doctors nor parents really understand autism. It is particularly difficult to understand because those who suffer from it usually have great difficulty communicating. Many do not communicate at all. They cannot explain what they do understand and don’t, what is hurting them or bothering them, what they need or want. Human touch is often bothersome. Ordinary acts of kindness or intimacy might be irritating. Vocal or physical outbursts may be completely uncontrollable but also strangely comforting.
If you have any interest in autism, I would like to strongly recommend you read a book titled, “Ido in Autismland”, by a young autistic boy who has learned how to communicate via an iPad style device. He provides a revealing and wrenching insight into the prison-like existence of many autistic children. He also blogs. His is a unique perspective and I encourage you to read the book.