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Awareness of Autism: Why Hope Is Stronger Than The Disorder

April 2, 2013
2013 Autism Awareness

2013 Autism Awareness

I hate autism. I hate the audacity and gall of this disorder to rob innocent beating hearts of social skills and fluent language.  I hate its bully like nature that threatens the very idea of self-control and self-dependency. I hate the storm of tantrums that leave fragmented sharp-edged pieces of emotions in homes and schools and on public aisles.  I hate the continual boxing match full of sucker punches and hard blows round after round, not knowing when the bell will ring. I hate autism.

But in all that I hate, whom I love is so much stronger. I love my son. He is not a disorder. He is not a label. He is not a stereotype. He is not a mistake. He is not a case for pity. He is hope in a sixty-two pound frame.  That’s what his beautiful big brown eyes say, when they make eye contact, soul to soul.

That’s what his laughter says when he’s found his happy place on a route outside, on a road called, run.  That’s what his random hugs say, when I’ve made his favorite spaghetti dinner, with untraceable amounts of spinach.

That’s what his courage says when he refuses to be taunted by fear. That awe-mazing courage freed him to gallop on a horse named Godfrey, whose gargantuan teeth absolutely frightened him. His courage helped him mount that horse with one brown and one blue eye, and he intentionally smiled with his own command to, “walk on.”

That same inner strength found him on a surfboard and though crying he refused to get off; instead his tears poured into the water and became part of the sea that lifted him up above his fears. That day he successfully surfed for one reason and one reason only, because he refused to quit and travel back home with that baggage of fear.

That’s what the care in his arms said as he held his little sister’s favorite stuffed animal as she went to the hospital for a bout with asthma. He laid in her bed all night covered by a pastel quilt of greens and pinks and yellows until she returned home in the morning. (I’d post the picture but one day it might make him blush…smile.) That’s what his handwriting says when he writes a story about his day or makes a list of things he would like to do. He is not autism. He is who he is, in spite of autism. That’s the awareness.

Grant studying in blueI love him. I am his student in a class where attendance matters most. Every day there is a new lesson for me to learn, new notes to take, new reasons to try again, new reason to hear from hope. Ours is not an easy or predictable path, but Grant is worth every step and stride of the journey. We will, “walk on…”

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Laura Misenhelter permalink
    August 6, 2013 1:18 pm

    I love this article. I could almost have written it. I hate autism, but I love my son. It’s okay to hate autism. And it’s okay for others to know how hard it is to have a kid with autism. Not for their pity, just for their awareness.

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