I have found that we have quite a few people using our program who have children with Autism. As my own son has Autism, this is a subject that is close to my heart. It is often difficult to explain to others who do not live with an Autistic child day in and day out exactly what it is like.
Autism is a spectrum disorder, this means that there isn’t a single set of symptoms to diagnose it. There are a wide array of symptoms ranging from mild to very severe. Thankfully, my son is high-functioning, but some days he is still more than I can handle. To people who don’t constantly hear him repeat the same dialogue over and over, he may seem like a normal child. My wife took him up to see her grandmother for a week, and for the first few days no one believed there was anything wrong with him. My family is the same way. They think that we don’t know anything and we just let the doctors put labels on our son when he’s perfectly normal.
Just as bad as the judgement of my family is the judgement of strangers. My wife and I rarely go out because we can’t control our son for a simple lunch. Even in the waiting room for evaluations other parents will make comments about how my wife is a bad parent because she can’t control her child. I pray that they never understand what it’s like to have a child who becomes trapped in his own mind at times and can’t focus on what is going on around him.
As I said before, my son is high-functioning so, on good days he is just about normal. Bad days are what really kill us. Some days we’re so frustrated and emotional that we just want to cry. For those of you with more severe cases, my heart goes out to you. A large number of families with special needs children end up breaking apart, and I can understand why. Remember that you are not alone. Let your spouse hold you up when you need it, and do the same for them in return.
For those of you who are interested in learning more about Autism, go to http://www.autismspeaks.org/whatisit/index.php. Make sure you check out the video glossary. I’m also working on a project to add information about Autism here at SmartTutor.com. If you’d like to see my son having a good day with Smart Tutor, check him out on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4ID30FAtls.