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In Their Own Words – Stepping into the Light

This “In Their Own Words” essay is written by Molly Keene, the mother of a son who has autism.

I am Molly, and yesterday I found out my son has autism spectrum disorder. The term “found out” is sort of ridiculous, because you go through months of evaluations for this sort of thing. But yesterday I found out, my husband and I said it to each other – “our son has autism” – and so I’m ready to step into the light.

My son has autism. And he’s amazing. And it’s hard, but it’ll be great. And great trumps hard any day in my book.

***

At the party, the other children surrounded the birthday boy, sweetly singing (and shouting, for the less musically adept) “Happy Birthday.”

There was pizza, and cake, and veggies with dip. Soda was in cups. I looked around for my son and found him, hand on a light switch.

Up.

Down.

Up.

Down.

Luckily, the lights were connected to nothing noticeable. But his hand caressed it and flicked it up and down, a ritual repeated many times daily. The front of his clothes were soaked from the water table at the children’s museum. As we gently moved him away from the lights, he melted down. Logic told us it was past his naptime, but inside of me, something whispered.

- Do you see? He’s not like them.

My husband looked over at me and asked what was wrong. I blinked and looked up, anywhere else.

- You’re afraid he will never have a party like this.

My eyes blinked back tears, and I stood with the baby and walked over to the window to regain my composure. I watched the wind rustle through the green leaves on the trees, and I grieved for myself. Not for the boy, who was happy as could be doing things his way.

It was me that needed to adjust, not him.

***

I came in from the garage after a much-needed day of shopping with a friend. A small head popped up over the sofa, and he ran to me, talking as best as he could.

- “Nggah! Raaah! Eye duh. Eye gah. Nuh! Nah! Ennah.” (or something like that)

Whatever he had to say, he was quite adamant about it, as he laid his head on my shoulder and gave my other shoulder three pats. He rested there for a minute, about like any young child. We walked into the living room, where Papa sat with the baby. My boy pulled me to the bookshelf, beginning the same thing we did a dozen times a day. I started handing him DVD cases, and he would push them back up until I got to the one he wanted. He would seize it and run off to sit and gaze at it happily. I smiled as the ritual was repeated. I knew that my kitchen cabinet held several DVD cases, and that in there, he would admire them like a photo album.

***

He was still awake.

I crept up the stairs and opened the door. A little hand pushed an empty bottle into mine. Again, a nightly ritual, as I went down and put a minute amount of milk in it. Back up the stairs I went, and laid down with him on his bed.

First he laid on my legs, using his blankets as a cushion. Then he moved up to lay next to me. I began to sing our nightly songs – “Good Night,” “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” and “Ollie is a Child of God.”

A small hand went up to my cheek and cupped it. And in that moment, life was perfect. Small fingers snaked into my hair and touched a few, tentatively. He whispered something and cooed at me. I had no idea what he was saying, as usual. But my heart translated for me.

- Mama, I love you. Mama, I know. Mama, I chose you and Papa before I ever came here. Mama, I am happy. Mama, I am perfect, just as I am.

My eyes filled with happy tears – another daily ritual. I finished the last song as on-key as I could, and he softly cheered, “Aaay.”

“In Their Own Words” is a series within the Autism Speaks blog which shares the voices of people who have autism, as well as their loved ones. If you have a story you wish to share about your personal experience with autism, please send it to editors@autismspeaks.org. Autism Speaks reserves the right to edit contributions for space, style and content. Because of the volume of submissions, not all can be published on the site.


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  1. August 3, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Welcome to the world full of light!!! And thank you for sharing your story, reminds me of my own.

  2. August 3, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Yes thanks for sharing. :)

  3. August 3, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Hi Molly! We have lots in common! Besides our name, we were recently diagnosed with PDD-NOS. Graham loves light switches and would rather be doing that than singing happy birthday… The hardest part about all of this is laying down the dreams you had for your son and picking up new ones. Dreams that seem mundane and remedial to others with typically development kids are HUGE for those of us with kids with ASD. My Graham, at 3.5 years old, just learn to wave bye bye. My heart skips a beat everytime he does it. Crazy isn’t it…

    Thanks for sharing your story!
    Molly

  4. wendy carlson
    August 3, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Thank you for sharing yourn story, I also have a son with Autism, and have had similar experiences. My heart and support goes out to all the children and families that are living is the world of ASD Love, support and guid your child, as each day brings a blessing sent from God

  5. alex
    August 3, 2010 at 10:39 am

    wow this story is amazing and so fimiliar, god bless our children with autism

  6. MSCordell
    August 3, 2010 at 10:47 am

    So beautifully put. You are such a good mom to get it early and to try step into his world for a moment, to love support and just understand. In their mind, there is perfect order… a highly functioning brain that seeks routine, logic and stimulation. They are truly incredible children and capable of incredible things! People just need to see the world through their eyes for a moment and understand that there is more to life than “normal”…whatever that is! You seek for him a life that is extraordinary, and expect great things to come.

  7. Paula Alexis
    August 3, 2010 at 11:33 am

    There is a reason Ollie chose you to come down to, and that reason is you’re an amazing mom. Your blog brought tears to my eyes, not because Ollie has autism but because all parents have hopes & dreams for their children. Some are realized and some are not but the journey that we’re on is what we must appreciate and cherish, not the ‘final product’ – if there is such a thing.

  8. Martha Stevenson
    August 3, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    What a beautiful testimony of a mother’s love for her son! You are so right that God created him perfect in His eyes. I look forward to your teaching us many things about autism so that we may be mature in knowledge as you are. I know Ollie will bless your life in many ways, and I look forward to hearing about them. Thanks for sharing. And by the way, you are a fantastic writer!

  9. Charlotte
    August 3, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Thank you so much for writing this…my son was just diagnosed, too, and I’ve really been grieving ever since. I truly believe God inspired you to write this…and now you’ve inspired me. I think I will read your story every morning when I get up to remember that my former dreams are not as beautiful as the real dream unfolding before me. God bless you and your family.

  10. August 3, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Molly – your story is like so many others – you are not alone – my son is just like yours. Rich is now 7 almost 8. He no longer flicks the light switch obsessively, his speech is much imporoved and heartily celebrates his birthday! As you did, I discovered this is a journey I have the privelege to partcipate in and there have been many times I have cried along the way. But the smiles and happiness far out number any sadness.

    I wish you peace and many blessings – remember – you are not alone!

  11. Jennifer
    August 3, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    It seems only yesterday we started on this path as well, but in actuality it has been a year since our son’s diagnosis. We went came to many of the same conclusions, it was not him that was flawed, but instead it was my way of thinking. Our Darius is 3 now and still does not talk. He does not like to have his daily rituals and schedules upset, but he is happy and loving. What more can a parent ask for their child but happiness and to have their undying love returned to them?

  12. Kelli
    August 3, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Welcome to the family Molly!…you could have very easily described my own son as he was at that age. He’s 15 now, and he’s in a regular high school, knows how to use a computer, enjoys card games, is funny, handsome and healthy. And those are good things! There are struggles, he’s got very few friends, I’m still the “social director”, he prefers his solitude, and is not a very good winner OR loser when it comes to games. But we’re still stepping into the light. Hold on tight…it’s gonna be quite a ride.

  13. Antonette Young
    August 3, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    So wonderfully spoken. I felt like I was reading my own story. Thank you for sharing and god bless!

  14. jenstate
    August 3, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Great post. I, too, have cried about my daughter (who has terrible SPD with asperger tendencies) as I realized she would never play on a sports team or enjoy a birthday party. She can’t go to play dates with new people. She is high functioning though and I know it must be super tough for moms of children with more severe disorders. Here are some websites that helped us help our daughter – hope they help others!
    http://www.brainbalancecenters.com – education and therapy
    http://www.sensoryplanet.com – support for parents of children with sensory disorders
    http://www.aitinstitute.com – alternative auditory therapy

  15. Antonette Young
    August 3, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    I felt like I was reading my own story, I love when Ian takes my face and strokes it softly with his hands….no words are needed because I can feel his words in his touch!

  16. Judith Varias
    August 3, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Molly, I enjoyed reading your posts about your beautiful boy. I just spent time with my grandson Marty, 3 1/2 (on autistm spectrum) at our cottage. He took the keys and inserted them and then removed them from the lock in the door over and over again. He “snapped” my husband’s sandals shut. We would release the mechanism and he snapped them together again to his heart’s content. Marty was a joy to observe and to be with.
    Your stories bring tears to my eyes. We are all ‘you’ looking out that window and trying to gain our composure. Trying to figure out the next best steps for our beloved children, grandchildren. Stay strong Molly. I’m rooting for you and your son.

  17. Kim
    August 3, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    This is such a familiar story. My child was also diagnosed this year, and I have felt all the things you mentioned. But what touched me the most was when you said:

    “- Mama, I love you. Mama, I know. Mama, I chose you and Papa before I ever came here. Mama, I am happy. Mama, I am perfect, just as I am.”

    That made me cry as that is exactly how I see Christian :) He is so wonderful and so smart and he teaches me new things every day.

  18. Cathi Thompson
    August 3, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    This beautiful mom is my niece. What a beautiful child of God you are? The fact that you get it, or are getting it is a beautiful thing to see. In God’s eyes there are no comparisons for our children, it’s just our earthliness that wants the dream. Growing up with my hand, I continued to search for the “perfect like my friend place” but when I became 18 someone turned the light on for me and I became perfect and knew all was OK. As a social worker I finally learned that the best way to understand someone was to go where they were spiritually and wait until we could walk forward together.
    Molly you are a great mom, and niece and what a beautiful family you have. Heart memories made today, Love ya, Cathi

  19. Charity French
    August 3, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Ollie is a wonderful little boy. It is amazing to watch the things that make him smile. I feel blessed to be his aunt and be able to watch him grow. Love you guys.

  20. Misty Robinson
    August 3, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    I cam across this a few years ago and absolutely love it. I hope this gives someone comfort like it gave me…
    The Special Mother
    by Erma Bombeck

    Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressures and a couple by habit.

    This year nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of handicapped children. Did you ever wonder how mothers of handicapped children are chosen?

    Somehow I visualize God hovering over earth selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As He observes, He instructs His angels to make notes in a giant ledger.

    “Armstrong, Beth; son. Patron saint…give her Gerard. He’s used to profanity.”

    “Forrest, Marjorie; daughter. Patron saint, Cecelia.”

    “Rutledge, Carrie; twins. Patron saint, Matthew.”

    Finally He passes a name to an angel and smiles, “Give her a handicapped child.”

    The angel is curious. “Why this one God? She’s so happy.”

    “Exactly,” smiles God, “Could I give a handicapped child to a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel.”

    “But has she patience?” asks the angel.

    “I don’t want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wears off, she’ll handle it.”

    “I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and independence that is so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I’m going to give her has his own world. She has to make him live in her world and that’s not going to be easy.”

    “But, Lord, I don’t think she even believes in you.” God smiles, “No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect – she has just enough selfishness.” The angel gasps – “selfishness? is that a virtue?”

    God nods. “If she can’t separate herself from the child occasionally, she’ll never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn’t realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a ‘spoken word'”. She will never consider a “step” ordinary. When her child says ‘Momma’ for the first time, she will be present at a miracle, and will know it!”

    “I will permit her to see clearly the things I see…ignorance, cruelty, prejudice….and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life, because she is doing My work as surely as if she is here by My side”.

    “And what about her Patron saint?” asks the angel, his pen poised in mid-air.

    God smiles, “A mirror will suffice.”

  21. Misty Robinson
    August 3, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    I have 2 boys and my youngest (almost 10) was diagnosed at 4 but I already knew in my heart around 18 months-2 yrs old. doctors put him on the low end saying he was almost mentally retarded… they were wrong.. He attends regular school now and is on the A,B honor roll, has been hacking computers since he was 3!, locking up cable boxes (cable guys couldn’t fix it but tell Corey to fix it back and with a push of a few buttons tada.. fixed), is very popular with the lil girls (says he has 3 girlfriends) (i’m in for it!). He has the BEST big brother Troy. I couldn’t have hand picked better sons or a big brother for Corey. Troy is so kind and understanding and protective. When Corey does have his “meltdowns” and people stare and make comments, Troy is the first to defend… “my bubby has Autism and he is having a bad day”, “whats YOUR problem”. Troy has even stated many times over the years that after he gets married and their father or I are tooo old to take care of Corey, that he and his wife will move Corey in their home and take care of him (if Corey can’t live on his own). All i can say is that I have been blessed by God with these 2 wonderful boys and I wouldn’t trade either of them for the world! This may sound weird or wrong to some of you and please don’t judge me.. but Autism is what makes Corey (personality, quirks, etc)and if he didn’t have Autism, I don’t know who he would be.

    This is another one I came across a few years back.
    ** I did not write this or the one above** I’m just sharing what i have enjoyed reading and hope it gives someone comfort or a smile on their faces.

    WELCOME TO HOLLAND

    by Emily Perl Kingsley

    I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this…….

    When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

    After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

    “Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I am supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

    But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

    The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine, and disease. It’s just a different place.

    So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

    It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around….and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills…and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

    But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy…and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

    And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away…because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

    But…if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things….about Holland.

  22. Debi Warren
    August 3, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    I had to start and stop reading this two different times. My emotions were so overwhelming as my husband and I both are going through this exact same thing. Our son just turned two and was given a PDD-NOS diagnosis when he was 16 months. I remember at his second bithday party observing the other children there as they would fight over my son’s new gifts and he was off to the side rubbing an air condition vent over and over. I too had a moment of relization. He’s diffrent. But he’s so wonderful…and i cherish every brief moment of eye contact. Everytime he holds my hand…and know that he loves me, even if he cannot say it.

  23. Anita
    August 3, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    Loved your story! I remember those early days, and they are hard. It is normal and healthy to grieve what you “think” you have lost, that so called “normal expectation” of what you had planned for your son. My son is 16 now and in a few weeks a Junior in High School. Yes, he still has quirks. He’s a huge fan of Sonic the Hedgehog, and a few other video games, but he’s working hard on his social issues, but is popular with the girls but can’t quite figure out the “Guy” stuff. Teen guy language requires an interpreter for someone with normal language skills anyway! He has a wonderful big brother who tries hard to help him navigate this. I would be lying if I said I’m happy he’s autistic, simply because of the issues I hate watching him struggle through and am helpless to explain. Like how a facial expression and the sound and tone of a girl’s voice indicates that she’s trying to end a conversation politely and then the exasperated response she finally emits to say “enough already!” But for the lessons, the richness, laughter, pure joy in his victories and his unique view/observations on life he has taught my family, he is a gift from God. I am blessed. For those reasons, I wouldn’t change anything. We still have years of figuring out how to navigate college and life in general, but the grief is gone.

  24. August 4, 2010 at 2:12 am

    I have read that Holland story before. It is a beautifully put. I actually read it this past Christmas in dealing with my husband’s battle with cancer ( he passed away in Feb.). BUT I was also “talking” to my husband’s brother and his wife. The have two kids, 4yrs. and 2yrs. that exhibit a lot of signs of autism. (I took all the classes on ASD at UC Davis & now am 1/1 teacher with these kiddos).
    The parents are in total denial. I want to commend all of you, not just the blog, for loving your children for who they are. And for being willing to help them with early intervention. Every minute counts with these children and they all have something wonderful to contribute to society. My heart melts everytime I see my nephew and niece. They cannot communicate well and I can see the frustration in their actions….to me they feel so lost. I know now that my position will never be of one to advice them of anything ( tried to suggest testing & it backfired). My position will be; when they are ready, if ever; to accept and love their children for who they are. That they are just wired differently and to be happy as long as they are happy.
    God Bless you and your children!
    Kirsten
    **My nephew & niece play with latches to gates, doors, & try always to escape. The 4 yr old, nephew, plays only with matchbox cars or ocean animals. Lines them up & carries a bucket of them around. With cars…looks & spins the wheels. sometimes makes car noises. The 2yr old does not have an interest yet. Carries baby dolls but does not feed them etc. Plays with cars too**

  25. Deborah Stelter
    August 4, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Molly, your story is beautiful. Thank you for sharing so eloquently.

  26. Sherris Pacheco
    August 4, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    Thank you for your inspiration. my son has not been diagnosed as I am on the whole process of getting him evaluated. It’s been a terribly long process and sometimes I feel like I am the only one who knows what’s going on. As much as I’d like to believe it’s a phase he’ll grow out of I just won’t give up until I know for sure . As a mother you know your child best and see when something is off, it is so hard to go day by day not knowing for sure, and even worse knowing that I am probably right. I love my son with all my heart regardless, it’s just been very hard. Reading your words especially when you said it’s not him I need the adjusting helped me… It’s bitter sweet to know that I am not alone. Thank you

  27. August 5, 2010 at 5:06 am

    Really beautiful Molly – I work with The Larches Community in London – will share this.

  28. James
    August 10, 2010 at 11:14 am

    I am a special education teacher. One of my students is doing a therapy called QRI (Quantum Reflex Integration). After three weeks of QRI therapy, he’s whole different child. I am amazed at all the changes. He’s so much more calmer, present, he’s communicating his needs and less tantrums. He made it the whole day through my class without me getting hit, scratched or bit (answer to my prayers too :)!! His sensory needs have lessened. It is tuly an amazing transition and change. I hate to admit it- it brought tears to my eyes!!

    Like most parents with children with special needs, these parents have been praying for an answer to find a therapy to help improve the quality of life for their child. A friend of the family had heard about QRI therapy, that helped their friend’s child with CP. So, they went to the website, did some research and ordered the program. They are able to do the therapy themself!! They can do it at their convience and not have to pay a therapist or take time off of work for therapy. This is a God send to parents and children with special needs. This prompted me to do more research because I have several parents that can benefit from this. I visited the website and spoke to the founder, a passionate, caring and wonderful lady. Here’s the deal, it’s a big expense at first but will save lots of money in the long run and from what I’ve seen with this child- I hate to use the cliche` but it’s priceless!! They got everything in the mail and email!! Never had to leave the house!! If you look at the big picture, it’s really not that expensive compared to other therapies and what you pay over time not to mention what you are getting. Google QRI and see if this is may be the answer to your prayers as it has for these parents. I want to share this and pray that it will help as many parents and chidren like it has this special student of mine.

  29. Jean Brooks
    August 10, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    I hope you will keep writing.

  30. Brian
    August 11, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    Hi, my name is Brian, and my 3 year old sam was recently diagnosed with PDD. I don’t know what to do. He is impossible. I feel so guilty… words can’t describe the guilt I feel for losing my patience so often. I want to give him the best life possible. I think sharing might me feel better.
    Thanks

  31. August 20, 2010 at 10:01 am

    My 3 year-old son was recently diagnosed with PPD-NOS. We have a scheduled appointment for an Autism Center in our area soon. Can somebody give me clues on how they test for Autism? Maybe you can answer some of my questions for me! My child runs from one side of the room to the next sometimes for hours. He has to touch the walls or couch each time he runs. Is there anyone else who child does this? And is there anything i can do to help him get focused on a different routine besides running? I am in deperate need of help and support from anybody that can help> Thank you very much. And may God Bless the children who have special needs.

    • autismspeaks
      August 20, 2010 at 10:25 am

      Cheryl – please contact our Autism Response Team. ART responds to family inquiries and requests at 888-AUTISM2 (288-4762) and familyservices@autismspeaks.org

    • Bev
      September 13, 2010 at 12:55 pm

      read http://www.wolverinechronicles.blogspot.com/
      they tippy toe around they run in circles never want to be hugged don’t look at you
      every time you talk to him say his name get him to look at you put you hands on his cheeks turn is face to yours saying his name take him out to noisey places so he gets use to it Logan has been going to hockey games since he was a month old now noise doesn’t bother him and don’t give in to him read Ginny Mccarthy books they are great. Good Luck and God bless you
      Email me at ant10@shaw.ca if you’d like

  32. Lisa Bohn
    August 29, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    This is my story, too, like so many of you. We just “found out” this past Wednesday and we are still reeling. Grieving for the loss of “normalcy,” wondering about things like birthday parties, girlfriends, friends, driving a car, etc. There is just so much unknown out there and it is overwhelming. It is simultaneously validating and heartbreaking to read how many other people share this story. Thank you for sharing it.

  33. TORI TOWNS
    September 1, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    THIS SOUNDS SO MUCH LIKE MY LITTLE LEA(3.5). SHE IS THE SAME WAY SHE WILL SAYTHINGS THAT DON’T SOUND RIGHT, BUT I KNOW THAT SHE KNOWS WHAT SHES SAYING BC IT IS REPEATED SEVERAL TIMES. SHE DOES THINGS TOO LIKE CARRY ME TO THE AREA OF SOMETHING SHE WANTS BUT IF YOU DON’T PICK THE RIGHT THING UP SHE WILL KEEP ON UNTIL YOU GET IT RIGHT.

  34. Ms. Kym
    December 30, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    I just read your blog. I tried reading it aloud to the kids, but broke down crying. As a friend and Ollie’s speech therapist, I remember those early days and the way you and Steve handled “the news” of Ollie’s diagnosis. I am lucky to have you and your family in my life.

  35. Molly Schwall
    March 4, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    After taking a “break” from reading as much as I could about autism for a few months I just read your blog. Our oldest son is 11 years old and is living with autism. How I wish Autism Speaks and all of the other amazing resources were around 9 years ago when our son was diagnosed. We were really in the dark back then. These days (after years of hard work, on my son’s part) I feel our family is indestructable. We can survive anything together.
    My son just hosted an amazing birthday party for his 11th birthday. When he was younger he never went to birthday parties and was never invited to them. This year he invited 19 classmates and 18 friends came. I’ll never forget how my son took over and passed out all of the goody bags one by one to his friends. It is a feeling of joy and amazement I will carry with me forever.
    Thank you for allowing me to look back onto those terrible early days when I was convinced our family wouldn’t or couldn’t survive autism. But we did.
    My son has been blessed with incredible teachers and now uses assistive technology to write creative stories. It has provided him with a way to communicate his emotions in a way I never thought possible.
    I just realized I no longer look back into the “what could have been”. Now I look ahead to the “what’s next ?”
    And yes, I’ve read “Welcome to Holland” at least once a week for the last 7 years.
    Molly S.

  36. Sandy
    March 7, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    My heart strings pulled tight when I read about the light switches….my son was also obsessed with turning on lights, fans and garage doors. He also treated trains like monorails as part of an amusement ride and will go on forever, never tiring out! He plots out their routes and monitor details such as colors. He also used to line cars up in color, size and types order. The list goes on. I recently “found” out for sure that he has HFA-Aspergers at 13 yo. He is hearing impaired but speaks very well and is in the gifted program with ADHD challenges. These other conditions masked his awkward social skills and constant and evolving obsessions throughout his childhood. His uniqueness makes him so special to those who love him. I am still learning how to continue to provide him with support and guidance to be socially independent with peers. I have faith that he will succeed no matter what challenges he’ll face. Keep on sharing your touching stories so that we know that we are not alone in this.
    Sandy

  37. Gloria Keog
    May 21, 2011 at 9:58 am

    Misty Robinson :
    I cam across this a few years ago and absolutely love it. I hope this gives someone comfort like it gave me…
    The Special Mother
    by Erma Bombeck
    Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressures and a couple by habit.
    This year nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of handicapped children. Did you ever wonder how mothers of handicapped children are chosen?
    Somehow I visualize God hovering over earth selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As He observes, He instructs His angels to make notes in a giant ledger.
    “Armstrong, Beth; son. Patron saint…give her Gerard. He’s used to profanity.”
    “Forrest, Marjorie; daughter. Patron saint, Cecelia.”
    “Rutledge, Carrie; twins. Patron saint, Matthew.”
    Finally He passes a name to an angel and smiles, “Give her a handicapped child.”
    The angel is curious. “Why this one God? She’s so happy.”
    “Exactly,” smiles God, “Could I give a handicapped child to a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel.”
    “But has she patience?” asks the angel.
    “I don’t want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wears off, she’ll handle it.”
    “I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and independence that is so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I’m going to give her has his own world. She has to make him live in her world and that’s not going to be easy.”
    “But, Lord, I don’t think she even believes in you.” God smiles, “No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect – she has just enough selfishness.” The angel gasps – “selfishness? is that a virtue?”
    God nods. “If she can’t separate herself from the child occasionally, she’ll never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn’t realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a ‘spoken word’”. She will never consider a “step” ordinary. When her child says ‘Momma’ for the first time, she will be present at a miracle, and will know it!”
    “I will permit her to see clearly the things I see…ignorance, cruelty, prejudice….and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life, because she is doing My work as surely as if she is here by My side”.
    “And what about her Patron saint?” asks the angel, his pen poised in mid-air.
    God smiles, “A mirror will suffice.”

  38. June 9, 2011 at 9:33 am

    I felt goose bumps as I read your story – a story that I can truly relate to. Thank you for sharing and allowing me to see that I – and my son – are not alone in our battle with autism.

  39. Christine
    October 2, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    I just finished reading this touching story, i have a 20 month old grandson who was just recently diagnose with autism spectrum disorder. I love him so much he is the light of my life, he is a wonderful little boy. I just sat here after reading this and cried we are all going through a tough time right now but trying to stay focused for him. He just started therapy at home and we are hoping for the best, so far so go but a very long road in front of my family. Good luck with your son.

  40. November 21, 2011 at 11:25 am

    This….I can relate too. My son, age 8 has yet to be diagnosed. I know in my heart, that he has austism. I have been told (two years ago) that he is mentally retarded, for lack of better words, and I can handle that. I wonder daily as I watch him and his highly intelligent 6yr old brother, grow and learn, just how much of life will he miss out on. What will he do for a living when he’s grown, will he have a “normal” life? Then he comes and sits on my lap with a John Deere tractor book and tells me all the parts of the tractor and what each one does, and that in the summer, he’s going to go to work at the tractor place washing tractors til “I talk one of those guys into teaching me engine work” , and i laugh on the inside, knowing one day soon, he will talk these guys into putting him to work, ” do I really have to have two numbers in ;my age first” he asks. I think to myself, who would want a “normal” life when you can have his outlook?

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