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Has autism touched your life?

Some other time, some other place, and things would be different, maybe.
You might even know my name. You might even love me.
But if you'd let me share your world, I promise I could make things right.
So won't you let me share your world?
Won't you let me in? 

I wrote those lyrics in 1998. Back then, my 3-yr-old twin daughters lived in their own separate little worlds. Nobody else was allowed in.

Before I had children I didn't know much about autism. I'd seen Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man, but that was about the extent of my 'knowledge' on the subject. Of course, that all changed when the girls were diagnosed in '97. Senior Management and I soon discovered the diagnosis covers a wide range of symptoms. Mr. Hoffman's portrayal was by no means a blueprint of what we could expect.

Over the years we've come across a lot of people whose lives were touched by autism in some way. Some have children who managed to graduate from college despite being considered autistic. Others are still coming to terms with a recent diagnosis, resetting their hopes and expectations while grieving for the life and future their child will never have.   

Our girls are sixteen now. Sad to say, there'll be no college education for them. No marriage or children. Years ago we accepted (and started to prepare for) the fact that they'll never lead anything like a 'normal' life. In fact, it's the main reason we moved to America.
Even so, my daughters have changed since I wrote that song. They still don't really know my name, but they know I'm 'Daddy' and while we don't have full citizenship in their worlds, they long-since granted myself, my son and Senior Management a sort of occasional Green Card status. 

In the between times when when they're not pretending we don't exist or driving us to distraction, they laugh a lot, and we get lots of hugs. I know my girls are happy and when all's said and done, isn't that what we want most for our children?

How about you?

Has autism touched your life?


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Apr. 27th, 2011 02:56 pm (UTC)
I've known several close friends dealing with autism in their children, and I think nowadays all parents go through a fear of hearing that diagnosis, since it is so prevalent, when it wasn't so years ago. When I get comfortable enough with them, I always ask what they believe caused their child's autism, because I've never seen a condition, other than cancer, that is so widespread and yet so mysterious as to the cause. As you probably know, I've received a thousand different answers. NJ is the best place to live if you have an autistic child because 1 in 70 children there is diagnosed with it, and therefore they have more resources. However, being from New Jersey and having children recently, I know that all new parents here are hypervigilant of the signs and symptoms and constantly live in watch and fear of it. But until we know the cause, there really is nothing we can do, other than what you're doing, and what all good parents do... giving the best we can to our children, to help them be the happiest and best people they can be.
Apr. 27th, 2011 03:03 pm (UTC)
We made a conscious effort not to think about the cause (since it's not going to change anything), but I know some folks drive themselves to distraction trying to figure out if it was because of something they did or didn't do, or something that happened etc.

Things What I Wrote and Other Stuff

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there



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NJ Writing groups - compressed

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