This article was taken from an original post, written on 11/09/2013, on my website http://www.decor8yourlife.com
This is my son, Vincent, at age 16. He’s quiet for the most part. He doesn’t have but maybe 1 friend or 2. He prefers to stay in his room building things, than to be out with people or out on a family affair. He hates bright areas. Overhead lighting drives him nuts. He can’t stand the sound of babies crying or dogs barking. It hurts his ears. He gets anxious when he doesn’t comply with the house rules. If something angers him, he doesn’t know how to verbalize it very well and his angry reaction is usually followed by remorse. He’s constantly working on pragmatic language. When he speaks, he gets his tenses wrong quite often. He has a 7th grade reading level, yet he gets every formula in his college trigonometry course. Nope! language doesn’t make much sense to him, but he’s great with formulas. Formulas follow a certain path you see. There’s no room for interpretation with mathematical formulas. It’s either right or it’s not. You follow a sequence with formulas. He strives with sequence. Vincent loves robotics. He loves to build stuff. He could be sitting at his desk all day, building mock cities, railways, road systems, and never get tired. When he’s very involved in his work, he has to be reminded to nourish his body.
Vincent has Autism. He was diagnosed with Autism at age 4. Professionals told us that if he was ever going to learn to speak, he would by age 4 and a half. He barely muttered words at age 4. Professionals told us he may not be able to learn anything. The diagnosis was dismal at best. I would have rather been kicked in the gut, than to listen to what the professionals were telling us. Scared for my son, and grieving for what he was never going to be able to do (per the professionals), I took it upon myself to learn. Learn everything I could about Autism.
Through the years, we have learned that Vincent does best when we work with him instead of trying to change him into something he’s not. We’ve done the therapies, the sensory integration diets, the glutten-free diet, the visits to the Neurologists, Psychologists, hospitalizations. If it made sense, we’ve tried it. Some areas of his treatment have been successful, while others have remained inconclusive. Vincent is now home-schooled. He may never be able to write a thesis on Shakespeare, but he may very well build the first operable time-machine! (he has ideas… it’s a long shot. But hey, it takes one man, with one idea to change the world.) Although many of his peers will be taking off to college in the coming year, it’s going to take a little bit longer for Vincent to get there. What comes easy for you or me, is not necessarily so for the brain with Autism. It’s not because we are “smarter” than they are, or that they are “slow” (yes, my son has been giving the label by other teens. Sometimes they will even refer to him as “special ed”. Yes, teenagers can be cruel).
What many fail to understand is that much of what we “normal” people do has no logic, and no path. We tend to do what feels best regardless of what our goals should be… but that’s a different topic I will not get into right now. Out of this illogical and crazy, mixed up world that us “normal” folks have created, the autism mind has to somehow put it all together and make it make sense.
In retrospect, it seems like it was ages ago since that ill-fated moment, when we were told that our son was not “normal”; and I’m sure those of you with special-needs sons and daughters will agree that you never forget. You never forget that feeling of your heart being ripped off your chest. You never forget that feeling of wanting to scream and cry so loudly with a force that will make the world end at that very moment. But you go on. You continue to learn. You cope; and you teach your kid to cope.
I have a son with Autism; and he’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me.