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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Writer/Curator/Founder of The Autism Acceptance Project. Contributing Author to Between Interruptions: Thirty Women Tell the Truth About Motherhood, and Concepts of Normality by Wendy Lawson, and soon to be published Gravity Pulls You In. Writing my own book. Lecturer on autism and the media and parenting. Current graduate student Critical Disability Studies and most importantly, mother of Adam -- a new and emerging writer.

“There is no hope unmingled with fear, and no fear unmingled with hope.” -- Baruch Spinoza

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

 

Coming Home

Sorry, readers. I’ve been busy organizing the October event: The Joy of Autism: Redefining Ability and Quality of Life, which is coming along nicely. You’ll be able to access a website by the end of May.

I’m also getting ready to go to Israel without my sweet Adam. It’s like he KNOWS. I likely eminate the “I’m anxious” vibe, or something sentimental. He looks into my eyes, gives me a kiss, snuggles against me. There is never a moment when I travel that I do not miss his sweet cherub cheeks beginning now to draw down.

The week has been full of smiles. The sun is shining everyday and it’s like summer here in T.O. – three weeks too early and making me a little nervous that we’re going to have a summer like Phoenix.

Adam has been talking in full sentences now and then, which I like to report after recent anxiety issues. If he gets frustrated, the words are still difficult. Some sentences are slurred, some are perfect. Even his slurs are becoming clearer, and I have to attribute that to maturity, since he’s had no SLP for a few months now. He is doing well in school so much so that his teacher has said that he no longer needs a facilitator -- he approaches teachers and friends more without one. I attend school fifteen minutes early every day to spy on him. I watch him playing alongside other children and while he still needs a little extra assistance and reminding, all I see is a really happy child. Maybe he's a little happier since we purchased a twelve foot trampoline for our backyard last weekend. It's like his own personal paradise.

So, I cherish these peaceful times when things seem to be steady. It wasn’t like that before. From the time Adam was conceived, I purchased every developmental book out there – I had to know how he was growing, week to week. When he was born, I referenced the same developmental books, making sure he was doing all those things on time. It wasn’t until his first birthday, and after little Adam began reading letters and numbers at eleven months, that we noticed he wasn’t very interested in people -- preferring to watch Maria sing to The Sound of Music as the barrage of invited guests tried to couchi-coo him.

Now, he is very interested in people. He is very social, for Adam. He smiles all the time. He wants to play with others -- I would say he prefers to play with people than to play alone. There is a real joy that I feel in him -- well worth the worry, work and the wait. Beyond that our joy has come from my acceptance of him as he is. It was an acceptance (and learning) that all of those timelines didn’t matter, and were in fact, detrimental to his individual development. It was an acceptance that our lifestyle had to be adapted, that Adam needs more time, more support. Regarded for who he is, we have achieved happiness wrapped in all the everyday challenges and realities. Today, instead of that "tragedy" we once thought of called autism, "masking" our son, or worse "stealing" him, today Adam is a smart, charming, wonderful little boy with the same potential belonging to any other child -- whose future I look forward to instead of brood about.

We are travelling without Adam, as you likely gathered. We've travelled without him before, but I don't travel as much as I used to. I can't stand being away for too long. Last year, returning home after a week in France, Adam heard my voice from the bathroom, smiled from ear to ear, and lunged into my arms. It was one of my happiest moments. It is true that the best part of going away is coming home. Maybe it's the same with autism. The diagnosis is the flight away, the worry is the journey in a foreign place, and your child, my sweet Adam, is home.

7 Comments:

Blogger Kristina Chew said...

Or perhaps the diagnosis is the journey---the road. How long will you be gone? I cannot leave Charlie overnight---he manages fine but afterwards comes the delayed reaction.

10:26 PM  
Blogger Estee Klar-Wolfond said...

Nine days. It's the longest yet.

My parents stay in my home and take over...they're wonderful.

11:33 PM  
Anonymous Camille said...

I hope you have a nice trip. :-)

12:43 AM  
Blogger Bronwyn G said...

Well, Adam has a good taste in musicals.

I wonder if he ever listened to "How do you solve a problem like Maria"?

Have a great time in Israel.

12:54 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

I have come to many of the same conclusions about my Oliver. And right from the start I always wondered why he always seemed so joyful when everything I read described autism as a tragedy! He is one happy kid!

Good luck with your trip. I left Oliver once for 3 days and it was HARD!

7:43 AM  
Blogger r.b. said...

I will agree acceptance is joyful.

It's like a TREMENDOUS weight lifted off your shoulders!

Enjoy your trip!

9:13 AM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Beautiful post.

Have a wonderful trip. I'm jealous! :)

10:34 AM  

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