Sunday, June 13, 2010
Autism and Family dynamics
As I have come to learn in life family is the basis for everything and it is where we draw our strength and where we seek identity, assurance and advice throughout the years. Family is where we establish our roots and it is a place where we should find love, comfort, safety and happiness. We come into this world totally reliant on our parents who provide for all our needs as babies and children and help teach us and guide us and help us in our lives. Our parents see that we always focus on the important things in our daily lives like school, homework, developing interests, taking care of our needs such as proper nourishment, proper hygiene, developing self confidence, establishing friendships, participating in activities and being happy. Our parents have to learn how to balance work, financial responsibility and raising children to be encouraged, loved and filled with a sense of confidence, hope and happiness.
The dynamics of family life is complicated and it seems each of us have periods of being alone and separated due to the daily demands of life and responsibility to others. Most families have both working mothers and fathers so young children are placed in day care or have caretakers who may be family relatives or compensated individuals who are given the responsibility to watch and care for the child and entrusted to always do right by the child.
I find it very difficult entrusting others with watching our son because of his autism and his unpredictability. We have had good fortune with his development through day camp where the kids who watch him seem to do wonders for him and we are always very grateful to them. We feel they are having a positive influence on our son and we wish to find other opportunities where he will get the same type of attention and care.
I find it difficult at times separating from my family every day and realize it is a part of life that we all must get used to. As I see my son growing I am trying to spend as much time with him as I can when I have the opportunity to. I enjoy having time to spend with my wife and son and I find that to be the most rewarding time. Life demands that we each have to be educated and make a living so our daily lives are centered around the parents going to work and the children going to school when they become school age. We all are doing our own things during the week and it is important that we have some time to establish healthy dialog and stay informed with each other.
Raising children is a very rewarding and very gratifying time in our lives and we always want to do the best we can for our children. It is so important to us and our children that we always stay in tune with each other and always have open lines of communication at all times. It is a time of great responsibility and we have to always stay focused and have a good sense of things. Life has it's shares of uncertainties that do affect us and we have to be able to always be prepared and try always to do our best in everything we do. As parents we have to have a strong foundation to build upon so we can impart self confidence to our children who are like sponges and absorb everything. Our children give us strength and demand our love and attention each and every day and we have to always make sure we are there for them.
So as you can see family life is wonderful and it is where we derive such joy and happiness. It is also very demanding and very complicated in the normal framework. When you introduce Autism to the dynamics of a family setting you then set the bar to a higher standard for the parents and other family members because raising an autistic child, which is also a joy and delight can be a very demanding and very emotional undertaking. As parents we naturally worry for our child. When that child is autistic our sense of worry is heightened and we are always thinking of our child at all times. No matter where I am I always have my son on my mind and I am always thinking of him and how his day is going. I know it is supposed to get somewhat easier as our child grows and gets into a normal routine but I still find myself concerned and thinking of my son. I believe it has to do with the social difficulties he encounters in school and the fact that he has epilepsy. I have no control when we are apart and find that a bit unsettling. When he is in my line of vision and under my supervision I find I have more control and I seem to feel better. I know as parents we have to get used to being apart but it is so much harder when your child is autistic because your child has so many more needs and does not relate to others the same way. I feel I have to help him and protect him and I wish that as time passes and our son matures that it becomes easier for him and for us.
Sometimes I find myself crying for wanting to help my son be the very best he can and not always knowing what is best for him. All I know is that I love my son with all my heart and I will always stand by him along with my wife and do everything we can to make his life a happy one and help equip him with the survival skills he will need to live a confident, self assured, successful and wonderful life filled with hope, joy and happiness. It is a certainty that he will encounter sad realities also as we all unfortunately have to endure which makes life somewhat a puzzle too. It seems we always want our children to be happy but that is realistically an impossibility. All we can do is try the best we can to teach our son and provide him with our love, support and wisdom so he can go out into the world one day as a young man. I have high hopes for my son and look forward to being there for all the accomplishments in his life. I know my wife and I are always there for him and providing for all his needs and we both are working together to help him develop and find his way. As parents we know what we hope for our child and we also know that we always wish to be there for him every step of the way. The things we don't know are the uncertainties in life that we all face. My dream and hope is to always be there for my wife and son and to see him grow into a young man confident, happy, self assured, with many friends and many opportunities. I want to see my son graduate college, find a rewarding career and do all the things in life he ever dreamed of. I want my son to be a tremendous inspiration to others and to live knowing he is wonderful and very special.
Dedicated to my wife and son who I love with all my heart!
Edward D. Iannielli III