A Turning Point
Autism. So much and so little in one word. My son Matt is almost 26 and has debilitating autism. No he is not a quirky genius who astounds everyone with savant skills. If he is a savant it is finding the hidden stash of Oreos in your house that even you have forgotten about.
Every day now I am standing on the threshold of his next move to “independence”. It will never be true independence as he is a danger to himself. Despite 50 million repetitions of “look both ways” and “watch out for cars,” it has just never become part of him. Matt is blind and deaf to oncoming cars and the danger of getting in the way. Even now Matt would run across a four lane highway without a glance to reach something on the other side that attracts him.
Matt chases helicopters. Just like the old character Radar O’Reilly he hears them long before we do. Every time one goes by he runs out and most of the time he starts walking down the road trying to follow where it is going. It might be 10 o’clock at night or it might be 3 o’clock in the morning. For over twenty years we also have given chase, so far not having lost him badly enough to call police.
And yet he is the picture of joy. I think he lives mostly in the present, mostly enjoying the moment. He makes these loud noises, mostly joyful, but I admit he has whiny days, too. He has a smile that melts hearts and is harmless to others. He has a great silly belly laugh to funnies only he really understands.
I am older now. It is hard to admit, but I can’t keep up with him anymore. I know this. That knowledge is the only part of having him move out that makes it easier. I console myself that he will still live close by. I console myself that I can help the people caring for him to understand his ways, what helps him stay calm, what helps him live in our world.
So as I stand on the threshold of this new beginning, seeing a stuttering slideshow in my mind, I experience vivid flashback memories of adventures we have shared along the journey.
It feels like time to share our adventures to the benefit of others, not just those with autism in the family, but so much about life and what is important that may be of interest to others. Welcome aboard my first blog entry.
I intend to write weekly, but don’t hold me to it. You know how unpredictable life is. ; )