Monday, August 23, 2010
Autism expressed personally in my own words
If people only knew how autism affects the child and the family. It is a challenge that we all must take on and do our part in addressing to help our son and provide him with our love and support. Our son has such courage and we are there to support and help him as he grows and develops. We are his hope, his support, his lifeline and his vision. We share in his pain and we also share in his triumphs and moral victories and we take great joy in knowing that he is trying his best and we are too. We do everything we can for him in hope that he will find his way and discover that he has been blessed and is truly special.
I feel privileged to have a son and to be able to teach him and help him grow and experience everything that a young boy should. We are teaching him the ways of the world so he can become a young man and go out into the world and strive to do all he is capable of. As a young kid growing up there are many new and wonderful experiences that will be encountered. It seems that even kids have their fears and doubts in growing and maturing. I see my son now becoming a young man and I still see him as a little boy but I can't help but notice that he is growing and not the little boy we once knew. We are learning and growing too as he is and it is even difficult for us to come to grips with.
For as long as we can remember our son has always been treated with special care because of his autism and now he has to conform and follow social norms as he is now nearly a teenager and we are concerned for him and hope that his transition to his teenage years will be smooth and that he will have positive and normal experiences that typical teenagers have. We have to be strict with our son and we have trust and hope that he will be fine through these difficult years. They can be quite emotional and painful times and when teenagers start to notice the opposite sex that is a time of great awareness and self discovery which can be a difficult and anxious time. We all go through it and try to keep our emotions and feelings in check as best we can. It is not easy and that is the time we need to aways be available for our son as he continues to grow and experience young adulthood.
If I had a way of protecting my son and shielding him from life's difficult times I would but it is beyond our control and all we can do is be there as his support system and let him know that he should never be afraid to grow up. It is a part of life and we all must grow up and become responsible adults. It sometimes can be a bitter pill to swallow and that is why we always have to listen to our kids and never discount what they say. I can not stress how important it is to listen and always provide a calming influence in our child's life. They look up to us and learn from us so we have to be there for them and lead by example. We are not perfect but we have to be the best that we can be so our children can be the best that they can be.
My biggest frustration in raising my son is that I feel I am not always there for him but my intentions are always good and I always try to speak with him even if it is only on the phone. When I have weekends that is when I feel it is absolutely necessary that we do things together. I also want my son to expand his positive experiences and learn to find his way and discover his likes and dislikes. I can not choose what he should do but I need to lead him to find what he may find interesting and appealing. As a father I always want to be there for my son and know that he is making progress and is doing good and is happy but I feel he is still not making friendships because of his lack of social connections in clubs, organized sports and outside interests. I hope he will find as he gets older and moves up in his schooling that special interest that will help him develop as a person and raise his self esteem. Maria and I will always be there for him and cheer him on in whatever he chooses and our hope is that he will find his way and find self acceptance, happiness and friendship.
When I spend time with my son I am delighted but when we are apart because of a long work day or a business trip it can tug at my heart and sometimes I feel it is more difficult for me being away than it is for my son. I am always reminded of the Lonestar song when we are apart and I am reassuring my son that I am always there for him even if we are a distance apart. The best thing to happen in my life was marrying my wife and becoming a dad to my son Matty and it has been quite a ride that I always enjoy and never take for granted. It is our children that bring great joy to us and we learn so much from raising our children and they bring out our very best because they need us and we need them.
Edward D. Iannielli III