I was no exception. When my younger son Joseph was born, I looked at his long legs, big feet, and hoped that unlike me, this poor child would possess enough grace to be able to walk and chew gum at the same. And like other parents, I had dreams of his greatness--it never crossed my mind that Joseph would (two years later) be diagnosed with autism.
The next few months where a blur, filled with finding therapies needed and battling with insurance companies. And my mind was preoccupied with one nagging thought, What did I do to cause this curse, this affliction on my child. Surely there was something.
I felt physically ill when remembering bits and pieces of my conversation with the specialist on "Terrible Thursday"; the day my dreams for Joseph died. The phrases "lack of fine/gross motor skills" and "completely non-verbal" were tossed at my as easily as a kitten playing with paper. There was a look of complete remorse and compassion in the physician's eyes. But at that moment, in the state of mind I was in, I'd doubted her sincerity.
Through the passing of time answers became clear after gaining resources at conferences, talking with friends on the similar journey, and searching my own heart. Autism is a mystery. No one knows the cause, but this is certain...there is nothing the parents do that causes this neurological disorder, nor nothing they could have done to have prevented it.
And I've learned that no matter how many times you explain your child's disorder, there will always be some people that either don't understand, or are unwilling to understand. And that's okay. What's important is be a voice for your child, be an advocate. Don't dwell on what "could have been". Instead, focus on the abilities your child has now, and reformat the dreams.
Above all, don't give up...ever.
Debbie Roppolo is an award-winning humorist, children's author, the co-founder of Central Texas Autism Network, and the mother two talented young men, the younger having autism.
Before you go...check out the revised version of He's My Brother, and the newly released Wealth.
Can he overcome his feelings of resentment and sadness, or will Cameron's autism drive a wedge between the brothers that can't be overcome?
This book also contains answers to frequently asked questions, a resource page, and more.
Expensive gaming systems, designer clothes, unlimited cash
and jewelry-coveted treasures that often demonstrate the wealth of a person. But wealth has another meaning, one that includes something more precious than the rarest gem: compassion, faith, friendship, love for the family and community.
In this collection of heart-warming short stories, meet Rachel, who is haunted by a dark secret, or take a journey into compassion with Beatrice, both who learn the true meaning of Wealth.
Thought-provoking questions are at the of every tale, designed to assist the reader in their own journey of self-discovery and fulfillment.