The Best People

If you are wondering who the “best people” are, look in the mirror if you are the parent of a child with autism or another disability.  In the 37 years since I have been dealing with autism, I have met some of the best people in the world; parents of children with disabilities and people who work with our children. I have been uplifted and inspired by many of you as we struggle with our challenging situations with our children. I have been inspired by the adults with autism that I have met who have overcome their condition.

Maybe we parents don’t always feel that we are the best we can be, but I know that we all try. They say that when you don’t get what you want, you get a learning experience. What a learning experience we have had! We all want what is best for our children and sometimes we don’t even know what that is. I read something that has helped me tremendously; “The Desire to do right carries with it a great power. You are in harmony with the Omnipotent Plan of the Universe”.  If you are doing what you think is right, then you are doing your best.

There are no easy solutions to our autism challenges. There are no quick solutions. There are many times of parent panic, but we continue to grow as we help our child to develop whatever potential he or she has. If you are struggling with a child handicapped by autism, you are earning your star in Heaven. Another of my favorite scriptures is Matthew 25:40; “As ye have done it unto the least of my brethren, ye have done it unto me”.  This is the motto for the PJ Foundation.

Of course everyone who works with our children are not the best people. I just saw another TV show about a treatment facility in Massachusetts that uses electro-shock therapy for children with behavior disorders. The doctors who run the facility were trying to rationalize and explain why this is the best therapy for severe behavior disorders. They said it was much needed and necessary. I disagree! PJ was extremely self abusive, hostile and aggressive. There was a time when I might have felt that they were right. Thank God that I live in Michigan where we have more humane methods of handling behavior disorders.

The show was very painful for me to watch as they administered this treatment.  It was painful for the parent of the boy getting the treatment. The mother said that her son was catatonic after the treatments and had never been the same since. The children wear backpacks with electrodes that give a shock to the student when misbehavior occurs, sometimes many times per hour. I am dismayed that this is still going on. I thought we were progressing past that, but they are finding more effective ways to deliver these shocks.

I know that the facility has been using these treatments for more than 35 years. Where are the people who were given these shocks 30 years ago?  What are they doing now? Were they cured and did their condition improve? I would like to know the answers to that.  I would like to hear from them. The only person that I saw who had the treatments and would talk about it said that they were torture.

I am sorry to learn that some parents think that this is the only solution.  I know that there are more agencies offering services to our children than when PJ was younger.  There are more agencies offering positive, humane services. Thank God for them!

PJ is far more pleasant and agreeable than he was as a child.  He is still handicapped by autism, but he no longer abuses himself or anyone else. He does not want to hurt anyone. With the combination of medication, behavior management and teaching, he has learned to control his impulses. Now he wants to follow directions and does not fight against being told what to do. I am so glad that I never thought that electro-shock therapy was my only answer. I believe it would have made his condition worse. Mine, too!

Until next time; May you have Peace, Love and Prosperity in your life.

Claudreen Jackson


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