“I see people with Asperger’s syndrome,
As a bright thread,
In the rich tapestry of life”
– Dr Tony Attwood
I feel like a lone soldier lost on the battlefield of life.
No one hears my silent cries.
I have a great fear of death,
And an even greater fear of life.
1 constantly struggle to break through your steel armor,
And capture the spirit inside.
I live one second at a time,
Sometimes I think I’m invincible.
Yet as tough as I try to be,
Something always manages to touch my heart,
And keep it soft and vulnerable.
I have a solid steel faith in the future.
1 am physically stronger than anyone.
I carry the weight of the entire world on my shoulders.
I have mastered the art of suppressing my raging anger.
I hunger for any knowledge that is unavailable.
I have an overwhelming appreciation for the finer things in life;
Those things of highest quality:
A dewdrop on a blade of grass,
A roaring thunderstorm,
A mud puddle,
And the touch of sand on bare feet.
I am the most isolated person on earth.
I am cast aside by my family and friends,
Yet admired and viewed reverently by them.
I am the most selfish and most self-sacrificing person alive.
I can laugh and know complete joy,
And simultaneously hold an ocean of tears.
I have grieved more than a nation:
I carry constant pain in my heart.
I know true happiness is loving unconditionally,
Loving and not being loved back,
A straight line,
A meal that stays on the table,
Eyes looking to me not through me,
A spoken word,
A response to a single command,
A teardrop or silence.
I am often criticized and pitied.
I am not all that I can be or want to be.
1 keep searching the haunted castle of a beautiful mind.
I am alone;
I am the tiniest whisper in the thunderous echo of time.
I am the parent of an autistic child.
These amazingly honest and haunting words belong to Peggie and I thank her sincerely for allowing me to craft them into a poem.
As some of you may know, I’ve recently offered up my blog space as a forum through which both parents of children with Autism and adults with Autism themselves, can begin to share their own stories and experiences in their own words. Some of them may be first time writers, others well seasoned veterans. Yet all of them, in their own ways will have something important to say.
I hope you will take the time to read and value the wisdom that they all have to share.
This first poem has been written by Heather, mother of a son with Autism.
Your son may never be popular,
May never be considered cool,
He may never have kids knocking on the door for him after school,
Or enjoy the pleasures of being just a kid larking around,
Sport many never be an interest he has found,
He may never get excited about what Santa may bring,
And to him the tooth fairy coming,
May never mean a thing,
He might not find any pleasure in reading the latest book,
Or ever see the joy in discovering how trendy he could look,
But the little things that may pass us by,
He will see with his own inner eye,
Like the silliness of having a falling out,
And of making others cry,
His quirky ways and honest thoughts,
His viewing of things in different ways,
Of seeing through the falseness of pretense,
Of not caring for a phase,
Without the complexities of friendships,
Facts and figures,
Dates and times,
True stories from real life,
They never lose,
So before you grieve,
Or feel sad for someone who doesn’t pas,
Just for one minute,
Bin the bad points,
And realize instead,
That you are,
Written by Heather.
A poet’s words,
Are not just written,
They are an inscribed,
That enters the skin,
To be worn forever,
From the outside,
Are we to be strung,
By the muted truths,
We are never,
While you shield,
Within the lines,
You’ve taught each of us,
As we dance,
May Day pole,
Held together only,
By our familiar,
Isn’t that our motto?
Our family’s well worn creed,
My son no longer finds safety,
In your heavily sanctioned,
He longs to break free of your rulings,
Designed as they are,
For small-minded children,
And not for young adults,
With thoughts and desires of their own,
Disabilities or no,
My son is a young man of clarity,
With hopes and goals,
And dreams of his own,
Why must you seek to contain him?
Isn’t it your job to help him to grow?
I give you his days in the trust,
That you will honor your obligations,
How is ignoring his voice when he speaks it,
Upholding your charter to promote,
Understanding, support and humanity?
When you stop becoming part of the solution,
You inevitably become part of the problem,
My son deserves better than being trapped,
In just another endless version,
Of educational bureaucracy,
If he’s smart enough to know,
That the way you are treating him isn’t right,
Then he’s smart enough to grow,
And walk well beyond your light.
So please be advised that we will not be beholden,
To yours or anyone elses,
‘Well meaning’ forms,
Of ‘special’ discrimination.