August 12, 2011

Different, but not less.

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.


Trisha said...

Sweet sweet April. It sounds like this was a mind changing and life altering book. You probably should pass it along to me. :) (Although, one of your books that I have currently my little storms may or may not have ripped the cover off of.) You are such a good mother. You always try so hard to understand your boys and their individual needs. They are blessed and lucky to have you and Jason as parents. <3

Rachael said...

I will definitely have to read this book! I love you guys and I can really say I know exactly what you are going through. I think once you overcome that "What if they just stay exactly like they are" hurdle, its just uphill from there. I remember coming to terms with this same issue with Gavin. Now I look at him and I think "what the hell did we worry about". Harry will improve. Only time will tell how much. But even if he never did, he is still your Harry. He will always be who he was meant to be. But never give up that hope. Its what strives you to help him. He may surprise you. We were told such grim things about Gavin from day one. And he is proof that it is not always what it seems.

Aunt Jenny said...

I read this post yesterday & have been thinking about it all last night & all day today. What an enormous breakthrough for you. I'm at a loss to express how much I appreciate how difficult getting to this wonderful new mindset must have been. You are amazing.

Anonymous said...

May GOD bless you and Jason and continue to give you the strength and understanding you need daily. gramps and Granny love you each one dearly.