I have been abused by autism, defeated by autism, depressed by autism, embarrassed by autism, exhausted by autism, overwhelmed by autism. I never thought I would get to the point where I would say that I am inspired by autism. It only took 30 years. “Inspired By Autism” is the title of my book in which I tell the story of my life with PJ, our 35 year old son who is handicapped by autism.
I wrote the book because after 30 years, I wanted to have my say about autism. April is National Autism Month and I could not let the month pass without writing about autism. I did not write the book because we are a success story. PJ can’t read, write or talk and is still living at home with me. We are not a success story, but we have had some successes along the way, which is why we can still live together.
I’d always said that I would have to adjust to him because he could not adjust to me, but he has adjusted to me in many ways. He is so much easier to live with, is no longer abusive and wants to help when he can. He attends a day program, so I have freedom during those hours to get out and about without him.
When PJ was born in 1975, the diagnosis of autism was extremely rare, 1 in 10,000. I had never heard of autism. I would never have expected the diagnosis to increase as it has until now, 1 in 110 children are diagnosed with the condition. If you are the parent of a child with autism, I know what you are going through and you are in my thoughts and prayers. You are my Heroes.
I have been able to live with autism for 35 years because I’ve had a great support network. PJ’s brother and sisters, my parents and his father. I have been able to take breaks from the drama and trauma of autism when I needed to. PJ goes to camp every year and I get respite so that I can take a yearly escape from autism.
My husband and I started the Pervis Jackson Jr Autism Foundation to help needy families who can not afford to send their children to camp or can’t afford to get other help that parents of children with autism need. I could not have done it without help. We say “A Spoonful Of Comfort” because a spoonful is the bare minimum of sustenance that we can offer anyone.
We all have “A Spoonful of Comfort”. If you have a friend or family member who is living with a person handicapped by autism, can you offer them a spoonful of comfort? Can you cook (or buy) dinner for them once or twice a month? Can you offer to sit with their child once or twice a month? Can you offer to take them to a park for a few hours when the weather is nice? It does not take much to give them a break and I am sure they could use one. I hope that you will at least consider this, especially during Autism Month.
Until the next time, may you have love, peace and prosperity in your life!