I am now living in the “future” that I was so afraid of 30 years ago. I spent so many years trying to bring PJ “out” of autism that I almost became autistic myself. I finally had to realize that he was not going to be one of the success stories and that I had to accept him as he is, autism and all. I am sure that you know how difficult that was for me, but we love him even more because of it.
PJ could not function above his cognitive abilities or his desire. He did not want to learn what we were trying to teach him and could become very aggressive when pushed too far. When he was interested in something, he learned quickly and became very good at it. He is a good cook, an excellent skater and is good at art. He also has a beautiful singing voice, but is interested in melody and cannot sing lyrics.
We let him sing with his sister, Stephanie, at an autism benefit many years ago. They had a couple of songs that they sang together. Stephanie would sing and PJ would chime in at a certain point in the song. Since it was for autism, I thought that whatever PJ came out with would be a lesson in autism for the audience. It was also a lesson for me because PJ turned his back to the audience and would not turn around to face them.
There were many such incidents. PJ was only capable of adjusting to what we wanted up to a point and not beyond that. Where he has made a great adjustment is that he is now pleasant and co-operative if he knows what is expected of him. He smiles a lot more and wants to be helpful. He has become patient.
PJ and I have survived each other and the path I took with him is the only path that I could have taken. Many of the things I was afraid would happen did not happen. Many of the things that I wanted to happen also did not happen. Many of my questions from 30 years ago have been answered and many have not. Sometimes we have to accept the fact that there might not be an answer. Especially in autism. Sometimes we have to learn that we can endure far more than we expected we were capable of. We have to endure far more than we want to. We learn that we are far more resilient than we thought we could be. Autism teaches hard lessons.
Even though I am now in old age, (chronologically, I am past 70, but 70 is the new 50, especially if you have been toughened up by autism), I am looking forward to the future with optimism. It took a long time. The plans that I had might not be the plan that God had for me. I finally realize that. Maybe I still have some good days in the future. I would like to think so. I would like to share a poem that I wrote many years ago. It is included in “Inspired By Autism”.
He Who Holds The Future
When storms are raging ’round me / and I’m drowning in quicksand / And unhappy things are happening / Things that I don’t understand.
When I don’t know what else to do / I’ll just do what I can / because He who holds the Future / He also holds my hand .
I’ll believe that God is with me / every step of the way. / If He brings me to it / He’ll bring me through it. / So in His care I’ll stay.
And I will face my Future / according to His plan / because He who holds the Future / also holds my hand.
Whatever awaits you in the future, God is already there.
Until next time; May you Power of God protect you; May the Love of God enfold you; May the Light of God surround you.
I have enjoyed reading about your autistic son and how you have handled some of the problems. I am 67 and I live with my godson who is 19 and autistic. He is considered mild and does talk. I am having a huge problem with him cleaning himself when he has a bm. If you have any suggestions I would appreciate them so much. God bless.
Hi Gaynelle, Thanks so much for your comment and your feedback. Bless you for living with your godson! I’ve had the same problem with PJ. He really doesn’t want to clean himself, because he is so afraid of getting his hands dirty. Maybe your godson feels the same way. My solution was lots of underwear. Maybe instead of toilet paper, your godson would like the wet ones wipes. He might like pulling them out of the container. Let me know if you come up with something that works.