Autism Tales: A glimpse

Gustavo has a wonderful memory.  These are his drawings on some of his favorite subjects– Godzilla and an old video game.  He has notebooks of drawings that provide me with a glimpse into his thoughts.  The cat is acting curator.

Gustavo is now a teenager.  I’m in denial that he is taller than me even in the face of photos clearly showing he is literally a head and shoulder above me.  As I look up to see his face when he stands before me, I see my boy.  I see him as he is now and back then. A special vision that is gifted to short people who love growing children.

Before he was old enough for kindergarden, Gustavo had a school teacher.  He also had a physical therapist and a speech therapist.  I remember doubting the speech therapist was really on the same level as the physical therapist.  The physical therapist worked out of a doctor’s office or at the school.  She was official looking.  The speech therapist came to our house and brought toys and used fun games to coax words from our son.  I was amazed and saddened all at once.  How could he make sounds and almost words for a stranger?

I started volunteering for a parent support group for families of children with special needs.  I joined something I fought– admission and acceptance that something was different.  The difference was bigger than my son being diagnosed with autism.  Our family entered a new phase– one that opened a door that led to so many different paths.  In many ways, the conversations and experience forced us into a life that required more than a light connection in areas we didn’t even know we were disconnected in.  We are now the proud owners of a hot mess of spliced, frayed, well connected and hotwired connections.  A hot happy crazy mess.

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