Friday, January 29, 2010
Life Lessons: A father's insight into autism
I could never have imagined I would do as much research and learn as much about autism or have envisioned that I would even have a page that centers around it. How could I know? If my son was not diagnosed with Asperger's I would probably know of Autism but would not feel so connected to it as I do. I truly believe there is a reason for everything and by having a son with autism and epilepsy it makes me realize how I need to learn and research about it quite regularly. It seems that autism is becoming more and more prevalent and it seems quite a mystery as to why this is. I as a father know I would do anything for my son to help him and provide him the proper medical attention required in dealing with all his needs. I am very concerned for my son's future and his continued development. We have to always make sure Matty is challenged and continues to make progress. I know he will have challenges like most everyone but as an autistic child with epilepsy the challenges can be life threatening and that is my biggest concern for him. We need to make sure he is protected and all consideration be given to his future. It is always a parent's hope that their child will grow up to face the world and have a smooth transition into adulthood. My goal for my son is that he also have a smooth transition into early adulthood and that he gets a complete college education and he does well in all his pursuits and that he can have his conditions controlled with the proper medication so he can have a relatively normal life.
As a young adult working after facing family tragedy with the loss of my mother at a relatively young age I had to deal with emotional struggles and with seeing my dad have his share of struggles and times of loneliness. It was a very difficult period in my life dealing with all the sadness and emotional pain. I found myself on many occasions in the bookstore in the self help and motivational section and would look for books of inspiration to read and to try to learn from. There was one book I remember particularly as it stands out in my mind and it was written from a young Australian woman's perspective. The title of the book was Nobody, Nowhere and the author of the book was Donna Williams. The author was writing about her experiences as a young child and how she felt so isolated and alone and had difficulties on a regular basis because she suffered from a severe diagnosis of autism. Now that I think back to reading the book I find it prophetic that I found interest in reading the book and realize that was my first introduction to the world of autism. I believe God wanted me to learn about it and that is why he had me take an interest in reading Donna's story. In reading her book I was very compelled by her story and felt great sympathy towards her and realized the severity of autism. The happy part of Donna's story was that despite all her personal struggles as a young girl she managed to grow up and go on to college and become a successful writer and a teacher. She is truly an inspiration and I have a lot of hope for my son who is considered high functioning on the autistic spectrum.
In seeing my son grow into his preteen years I see he has an appetite for reading and is very intelligent and it is wonderful seeing him develop and grow and express his interests. It is a joy seeing that he enjoys reading and learning. Matthew has many interests and he is also my inspiration and I am very protective of him and want everything to work out OK for him because he is such a wonderful kid and Maria and I love him so very much. It is very scary when Matty has an epileptic seizure and he has no control over them. It is very distressing and all we can hope for is that he is always in a safe place when they occur and that the medication he takes for them helps to combat them and allows him to carry on in his normal everyday life. We also hope that as he grows and matures that he can overcome the seizures. Life is so precious and we want our son to be as protected as he can. We need to learn to be positive and always learn to have faith and hope and trust in our son. As a young man we trust he will experience success and happiness and learn the skills he needs to mature and take on responsibility and to express himself and develop meaningful relationships and friendships.
I have learned as a child from my parents, my teachers, my friends and my experiences. I have learned as a young man from my parents, my teachers, my friends and my experiences. I continue to learn everyday and as I get older and I am also realizing that I am learning a lot from my son who inspires me everyday and gives me hope and makes me smile. I love Matthew with all my heart and Maria and I realize how important our role is in helping him. We always need to reassure him and give him the love and nurturing and proper guidance he needs so he can face all his challenges and rise above them. He has a family that loves him and teachers who also love him and care for him and he is now starting to develop friendships and learning valuable life lessons as am I, Matthew's proud father.
Edward D. Iannielli III