I want to share something with you today. It’s something I don’t have any experience with at all. Instead, I hear second-hand from someone who has to live with it daily. As most of you know, my eldest son lives with his dad. My ex-husband remarried almost four years ago. The woman he married had two children, the eldest one being only a few months younger than Sean. Her youngest is a few years younger and is autistic-spectrumed with severe anger control issues. A blueprint of his brain showed that his frontal lobe is over-enlarged. His thyroid is overactive and he has to take medication to control his growth. He was sent to a state home this last year but he came home permanently this past December. There have been problems and issues resulting from his special brand of autism, one of those being how do new family members react to a case like this.
I do not know anything at all about autism other than it is a different way of operating. My first understanding of it came from a movie called House of Cards starring Kathleen Turner and Tommy Lee Jones. I thought it was a fantastic movie though I wasn’t sure how accurate the portrayal was of autistic children in general. What I do know is that no two autistic kids are alike. What I do know is takes a lot of strength, love, and patience to raise an autistic child. And let’s be completely honest…it takes a lot of strength, love, and patience to raise any one of us from child to adult. What I don’t know is how people can be so sure of what they know that they forget they may be wearing blinders. That kid in the restaurant that is yelling may not be “a brat.” What if that child is autistic and is having a problem because something has thrown their OS (operating system) out of whack? It takes a special kind of acceptance and tolerance from us as a community to let go of our already judgemental state of mind and take a closer look at the situation. Are the parents REALLY ignoring the child or are they doing their best to remedy a situation that might be quickly spiralling out of control? Manners are important but are they so important that we cannot go over and ask if there might be something we can do to help?
I know my son’s step-family struggle with every day life. It is hard to take this child out to dinner. It is hard to live with him at home. Sometimes they give in to frustration just like any one of us would with our own children when we are stressed. And I call him a child but he is in actuality a teen. However, his brain functions emotionally and mentally on an 8-10 year old’s level. How would your 8-10 year old child act if he had a man’s body and urges? My son treats him like any other kid. He lets him know when he’s crossed a boundary or when he’s done something to make Sean angry. What truly amazes me is the patience my son has learned because of his step-brother. I think this past weekend with Sean’s new interest in writing and specifically writing poetry, I have come to see why Sean has so much patience with him. It’s called empathy.
I’d like to share what I read this weekend that Sean wrote. I hope you read in it what I did. And to all of you with special needs children…you are my heroes.
By Sean Lawrence (Infinite_Symphony)
Loud loud loud TOO LOUD!
Stop stop stop.
It’s your fault.
It’s your fault it’s ALWAYS YOUR FAULT YOU SUCK!
It’s your fault…I DIDN’T DO THAT!
OH MY GOD!
I’m sorry sorry stop! LET ME GO!
He’s hurting me, you’re hurting me!
Ple-he-hease let me goooOOOOO!
Spinning. It’s all spinning I can’t breathe MAKE IT STOP!
Everything’s so loud…I can’t hear…Anything…
Nothing…I HATE YOU!
This is too hard it’s too hard I can’t do this NO!
I want it I want it let me have it PLEASE!
I promise I won’t forget it I love it let me have it I want it please!
I want to do something ANYTHING!
I hate you! They hate me you hate me you don’t listen!
I want friends why can’t I make friends MOM DAD HELP ME!
Why are we going this way? We never go this way why are we going this way I DON’T LIKE THIS!
I want to be normal can’t I be normal?
Why can’t I be normal?