Monday, August 30, 2010
As we find out in life as we experience it each and every day it is far from perfect and as much as we hope to have joyous and happy days we will encounter times that will challenge us and days that will make us cry tears of sadness. It is a natural and very real part of life and we have no control over it no matter how much praying we do. I find that we have to approach life in a way that allows us to appreciate what we have and to strive to do our best and to give thanks to all who have touched us along the way. We also have to be realistic about life and know that we should always be grateful for yet another day we wake and spend it with our family because we don't know how many tomorrows we have. It is so important to just live our life and surround ourself with the ones who mean the most to us, our family and our friends and always be there for them.
Our children are the ones who need us the most and we need them as well and we have a precious gift from God of sharing our life with them and seeing them grow and develop from infants to young adults and experiencing living through their firsts, their joys, their tears and their accomplishments. Having a child will change your life and give you insight into your parents' experiences and will help shape you and teach you more about life then you could ever learn from a textbook. In the initial days of our son's birth we were learning and doing all we could to make sure we were attentive to his needs and we were nervous but we knew we had to just be natural, calm and just be grateful for having this wonderful opportunity and blessing.
It seems like a blur now thinking back to my son's early days as a baby. Some days stand out but the time just seemed to fly by and it seems sad in a way how life seems to be so fleeting and before we know it our babies are growing children approaching young adulthood. It is our responsibility as parents to raise our children and teach them and help them develop self esteem, confidence, establish trust, learn to respect others and to conduct themselves appropriately in all situations. We always want the best for our children and we want them to feel loved and to have the confidence to do their very best and to find happiness and faith.
As a parent I feel it is our top priority to listen to our children and teach them to never be afraid to talk and express themselves and share their feelings and thoughts. With autistic children I also feel it is imperative to listen and respect their feelings. I have been on a roller coaster ride of emotions since finding out my son was diagnosed as autistic as a toddler and have been unsure sometimes on how best to handle conversations about it with my son. I certainly have written a lot about it and put a lot of time and effort into trying to understand it and share our experiences. I have to also remember that it is most important to listen to my son and understand his feelings. I am not trying to label my son or have him feel different because of his diagnosis. I just want him to understand that no matter what doctor's and professionals diagnose his condition as, he should never feel limited or different. He should find the courage and strength to live with his diagnosis, never give it a second thought and turn it into a positive so he can strive to do his best and find his talents and interests and follow his dreams.
I write because I love my son and wish to help him and realize I openly express my feelings and experiences about his diagnosis and feel this may not always be a good thing because it affects him and I don't want to have him constantly reminded about his diagnosis. In a way I feel the writing is necessary but I also feel I need to distance myself from it and not always think about it as I do. I have the best of intentions but feel I also need to honor my son and try to take the focus off the diagnosis and direct my writings, feelings and thoughts in a constructive way that will help us both. I can't help the fact that I have these feelings running through my mind and need to channel them in a positive way. All my writings are meant to be a constructive way of putting my emotions, fears, concerns, ideas, thoughts, visions, hopes and dreams to life in a positive way with the intention of helping my son and hopefully someone who is also experiencing the same with their child and their diagnosis of autism. To me I feel that the diagnosis should never limit my son and I will always encourage him and always be there for him and I feel my writing will be there for him years from now when I may not. For me that is also why I write so I can leave something tangible for him. I would love to leave him millions of dollars but that is not reality so my writings will be a gift from my heart.
I have asked my son to share his feelings on Autism with me and not to be afraid to. He has told me something that took courage and made me realize how important it is to give a child a voice. What he told me brought a tear to my eyes and made me feel very lucky to have such a wonderful son. What he said to me is this: "Dad, I know how your writing helps you to feel better and I think that you write about autism because you really care about me and want me to be ok like mom does. I wish I never had autism but I do but if I didn't I hope that you would still write about me like you do." When he said this to me I just told him how much I love him and that I would write about him with or without autism because he is my life and I am so very proud of him. I also told him how I wish to write about "Pop" because he was so brave and he did so many wonderful things and he was always telling Matty that he could do anything and that he was so proud of him. When I think about this I feel such emotion and that is why I write. I have been blessed and I want my son to know how much mommy and daddy love him and want to see him do his best.
Dedicated to Matty and Pop.
Edward D. Iannielli III
Monday, August 23, 2010
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
Friday, August 20, 2010
Equally important is establishing a healthy and wondrous bond with our child that allows us to connect and have enjoyable times together. What would the value of our life be if all we did and cared about was our career and our work? We would feel as if we lost a very important time in our life and that time can never be captured again. Once it passes it is gone for good. However if we shared many times with our children and maintained a healthy balance between work and family then we would have the many wonderful memories to go along with the many happy times spent together.
I have always felt the joy when I share happy times together with my son. We both enjoy seeing movies together or going bowling or swimming at the local pool. These are simple things but to my son these are great outings and it makes me so very happy when I see my son happy and enjoying himself. It is my sincere hope that my time spent with my son will help him in learning about life and establishing relationships. My son is a wonderful child and we are so very proud of him because of his happy disposition and his kindness and compassion. Although he is autistic and has his share of difficulties socially he really does have quite a personality and is a very caring child who wishes to solve all the problems in the world.
I share a love of music with my son and I have taught him about some of the great groups I listened to as a kid and he has developed an interest in those groups as well and we love to watch some of them in amazing and treasured video portrayals on youtube. We have become great fans of youtube because of the ease in finding artists of the past and sharing in experiencing their performances. A great example of this is watching Elvis Presley singing Blue Suede Shoes back in the 1970's or Peter, Paul and Mary singing Puff the Magic Dragon or Three Dog Night singing Joy to the World. There were so many wonderful groups that we like to listen to from back then and their music still lives on WCBS FM and Youtube.
Two artists that we both enjoy listening to who both have songs that really grab a hold of you and shake your world with their message of father and son relationships are the late Harry Chapin and the late Jim Croce. I always loved their songs "Cat's in the Cradle" by Harry Chapin and "Time in the Bottle" by Jim Croce. Both songs are enough to make a grown man shed a tear after listening to them. I have grown to understand the importance of both those songs as a father of a special needs son. My son has taught me so much and for that I am very grateful because he is very special to both my wife and I.
A traditional concert that we plan to go to again at Christmastime is Transiberian Orchestra and we are just so excited and delighted to go. It will be our 3rd year in a row and each time is an experience that leaves us feeling inspired and very happy and in the moment. It was their music I was listening to the day my son was born at Mercy Hospital as I was driving back and forth to visit my wife and new born son and everytime I play or hear Christmas Eve in Sarajevo 12/24 I get pretty emotional as I hold my son's hands in the concert and think back to the miraculous moment of his birth.
I will always make sure I spend as much time with my son as I possibly can because that is what makes me truly happy.
Edward D. Iannielli III
Monday, August 16, 2010
The reason I started to write this blog initially was to help me cope with the sad and tragic death of my dad which was unexpected and ruled a suicide at our local train station. I had always looked up to my dad and I miss him everyday as he was a big part of my life and was very supportive of Matthew and our family. He was a very proud and humble man who would give the shirt from his back to his fellow man and would always put in a hard day's work as an ironworker. He was a great husband and a great father and he and mom were both wonderful parents and are both missed and are now together once again as I believe it so in my heart. It is my dad who inspired me and spoke encouraging words to our son and spent quality time with him when he would visit.
I have primarily focused on Autism and our experiences with our son in my blog but have on occasion wrote about my personal reflection of my childhood growing up and about my mom and dad and my two sisters. I also wrote about tragedy and coping with losing both my mom and dad 19 years apart. My dad was very sad and was certainly very loyal to mom and never remarried as she was his love eternal. Dad had a lot of courage and he was a very kind, caring and compassionate person. It is very true how you really miss someone when you no longer have them and when they were here you never really appreciated them as you should have.
I find writing a truly liberating experience that helps me express things I can not verbalize with others. When I write I get pretty deep in expressing my feelings and I speak with a purpose and with emotion. I am much happier when I write because I can open up and share what I am going through and I feel that it is a healthy and necessary outlet for me. If I kept it inside I feel I would be very upset. It's like opening up the floodgates and letting everything pass through. It is a cleansing of the soul and a penance. As a result of my writing I feel it is very important to be responsible and to be respectful with all that I write about and to be sincere. I write from personal experience and sometimes those experiences can be very painful and other times they can be very joyous. That is what life is all about with the highs and the lows that we all experience.
When I started writing I had no idea that it would lead to the creation of a website. I am very proud to form a website and I feel it will help our son and it will also benefit others who are going through what we are. The autism community is a wonderful and very supportive place and it is where my wife and I go when we need guidance and inspiration. Every parent wants to do all they can for their child and always be supportive and understanding. With special needs children comes the need for a great deal of patience and an unconditional love like no other. You will find there are not enough hours in the day to do all you need to and the time for rest which is much needed becomes less and less with all the worries and concerns.
Now that I have been writing for a while I think it is a good idea to go through my posts and see how I can have it edited into a possible personal account story of A father's love, My son and autism which would be a wonderful account of my family, our son and dealing with the highs and lows of life and autism. I am proud I have stuck to my writing and have been very responsible and very compassionate in my views. I feel this is my lasting legacy for my wife and son and what better gift to them then the words of love and hope that come from my heart which is directed to them both.
If you have been introduced to my blog I encourage you to continue to visit it to read my writings and to also visit my facebook pages:
Now that I have created a website inspired by both my dad and my son I also encourage you to visit there as well.
I thank you, my audience always for your interest and your kindness.
I thank my son for his courage and his innocence and for his wonderful ideas and inspiration.
I thank my wife for her love, patience and understanding.
I thank my parents for their love, their compassion and their guidance in my life.
I thank God for blessing me with a wonderful wife and son.
Thank you blogspot!
Bless you all!
Edward D. Iannielli III
A Father's Love, My Son and Autism
Sunday, August 1, 2010
It is very important in our lives to dream as young children and to always be encouraged by our parents to reach for the stars in all that we do. When we are kids we are constantly evolving and growing and we are always learning and developing throughout our youth. The time in the life of a young child is very special and it should be filled with hope, optimism, encouragement, enthusiasm, wishful thinking and prayers to God for our child's good health, happiness and a life filled with promise, hope, dreams, vision and self confidence.
It is every parent's hope that their child is healthy and able to develop naturally and adapt to the typical changes that children encounter as they grow. We all are grateful for being blessed with a child in our life and we always want the best for them. If a child is born with autism or some form of disability it means that child will have some challenges ahead in their life but they should have the same dreams and hopes that every child needs to have in their life. My son is autistic and he has challenges that we are trying to help him deal with. At times it seems he will have his share of difficulties and periods of isolation. I only wish that he could realize when he struggles that he has the love and support of his mom and dad and he has many in his corner working to help him.
For many people Autism is not really understood and from outward appearance for the typical person raised in a typical community very difficult to assess. There are many autistic children who from first impression seem normal in ways so when they seem to react out in an inappropriate way to the dismay of others it seems they are defiant and unruly. This for most autistic kids is the furthest from the truth and it seems the parents are thought of as not being able to discipline their children. The reality is that the parents will do anything to help their autistic child and they put so much time, effort and compassion into raising their special child so they can hopefully fit in and have lesser outbursts and meltdowns. It is not easy raising an autistic child and for most families it tests their very limits of patience and endurance and adds a great deal of stress and financial pressure on the family. It is very important to accept the situation and work together with family and all in the support network to help that autistic child find their way in the world.
To an autistic child the world can be a very scary and intimidating place and they would rather live in their little place that is safe and free from confrontation. Autistic children tend to have social difficulties and feel that they can not fit in unfortunately. It takes very committed family and professionals to help address these children with their thoughts and insecurities and help them through these social obstacles.
It is our dreams, hopes, wishes and prayers that help us through these challenging times and give us the insight and knowledge that will help us find the dedication we need to get our autistic child on the right path in their life so they can have the same chances and opportunities that all children deserve in their life.
The one thing I have learned about raising an autistic child is that my sense of life and purpose evolves around my son and everything I do or plan to do is for helping him become better and more self confident. Autistic children do tend to suffer from anxiety and have many challenges and it sometimes can be emotionally very trying in their life and the parent's as well. As a parent I strongly urge you to never give up on your child and to always show compassion and hold on to hope and provide love, support and encouragement. There is nothing like seeing an autistic child blossom and come into their own after realizing the struggles they encounter.
To see an autistic child smile and hear them acknowledge that they feel loved and accepted and to truly help them find something that challenges them and gives them self confidence is the best gift we can ever experience in our life as parents.
The many ups and downs we will encounter as parents raising our children is all worth it if we can set the standard for them so they will benefit and grow and become happy, well balanced, confident and caring young adults ready to take on life's challenges and have dreams, hopes, wishes and vision. I pray everyday for my son to have a wonderful life with Autism.
Dedicated to my son who inspires me everyday.
Edward D. Iannielli III