This is a challenging subject to write about. My youngest son, now age 22, was diagnosed with autism many years ago. We now know that within the autism diagnosis, there are many types within the total spectrum. Some have language and some don’t. Some people have an above average IQ, and some have developmental delay.
Joseph is one of those with an above average IQ, yet his autistic qualities are certainly in force, so he has Autism(High Functioning). When Joseph was attending school, they only had programs for students with a developmental delay component, but they didn’t know what to do with a young man with a bright wit, who told the truth no matter what- even if it meant he would tell the special education teacher to “stop using that stupid special ed voice on me, it’s insulting.”
Most parents of children along the spectrum have a challenging parental journey and Joe and I certainly had our share. We had our lows, like the time we discovered they were locking him in the time-out room for long periods, to the highs- I have particular fond memories of the time he graduated from his private high school and he stood in the front of the group and presented the Senior Class gift.
Why am I revealing this detail of my life? Today is Autism Awareness Day, and I hope that one day there will be education programs for students like Joseph, there will be Transition-to-Adulthood programs to assist in making them as independent as possible. Milestones can be reached only by focusing public awareness into this disorder and letting people know that it affect individuals with potential, families, and society at large.
Please consider donating to research, or if you can’t give monetarily, provide the gift of kindness and understanding to any individual or family struggling with autism. Thank you, Carla