The past couple weeks I have been reading the book, Thinking In Pictures by Temple Grandin. It is probably one of the most fascinating and insightful books I have ever read. Every night when I would read another passage, I would feel as if my eyes were opened a little more. Even though much of the information wasn't new to me, the way she explained it, made it easier for me to take in, and apply it in my life... and in Harry's life. I can not express how much reading this book had changed my view, on a lot of things. This book opened my eyes, to all of the possibles out there (and also not just for Harry or others with Autism, but certainly more so)... not that I didn't know they were there before, but sometimes when you are down in the trenches, it is hard to see the silver lining.
I admire Ms. Grandin, and her passion. The book explains how she thinks, and how other individuals with Autism may or may not think. It also documents how the unique way she thinks propelled her career, and allowed her to see things from another view, a cow's eye view.
Since last summer I have had her HBO movie on my dvr. I have stopped and started it many many times. Most of the time to overwhelmed by how close it hit to home to finish it. Today I finally finished it, and I am so glad I did (I am also just as glad I read the book before watched it). I thought it was nothing short of brilliant. It showed perfectly the way she thinks, and how much she fought to be heard, and understood. Going through her many symbolic doors, to a new world and new challenges. It is very inspiring, not just for those with Autism, but us "normal" folk as well.
I have spend the better part of this last year coming to terms with Harry's Autism diagnosis. Then, even when I thought I came to terms, and I embraced it, and I decided to fight for and help Harry, I still had to come to terms with the fact that he may never be able to express the genius that is hidden inside of him. He may never speak, or be able to explain to me how he sees things, or what his hidden passions will be. He may never get past his sensory issues enough to be a part of everyday life, school, colleges, relationships. This time next year Harry could be talking in sentences, asking me for things, laughing at jokes, singing songs... or he could be exactly the same. Seeking comfort in his blankets, and being alone, and hardly ever participating with the family. This has been something that I have really struggled with. I can get over the little every day things, if I know where we are going to end up, but it is so hard not knowing. I have to believe it will be something more, something great...even something "normal". And just as much as I have to believe that, I think I also need to be okay with the fact that he may not be those things. He may always live with us, or maybe a group home. He may never go to college, or even a main stream school, he may never serve a mission. We don't know. And I think now I am okay with that. It took awhile to get there, and some days are better than others, but we are all okay with it now.
I am really so excited for this next year. It is going to be scary, stressful, nerve racking, and hard for all of us, BUT it also holds so much hope. I'm excited to see how Harry is going to do it school. I am excited to start his ABA therapy (just as soon as I find someone, I am thinking October). I am praying for positive change, and a better understanding of my little guy. I am excited to learn new ways to teach and help him (and hopefully more energy to do so after I have the baby). I feel like I understand now, more than I did before, how important it is to introduce my children to as many opportunities as possible. Different ways to look at the world around them. It seems like such a simple concept, and it was something I already knew, but I feel more ready and able to do it. (It is so hard to explain). I pray, whole-heartedly, that I can be the Mother that my children need, meet their different needs.
So in conclusion, read the book. Whether you know someone who is Autistic or not, whether you think you know all about it or not... I think it will change the way you see things.