I joined the Autism world in 1998 when my son was diagnosed.
Our on-going journey has been a series of amazing successes and serious challenges.
And here’s an interesting turn of events…when I was in my 20’s I thought I would teach school, get married, have children, get the home with the white picket fence and live happily ever after.
It didn’t work out that way at all…well, one thing did…I AM living happily ever after. And that is unequivocally because of one person – my Anthony. He came along and changed everything…for the better…the way it is supposed to be! I couldn’t dream of a better richer experience in this world…and the best is yet to come….for both of us!
There is always light at the end of the tunnel. Straight ahead….
You cannot go wrong with the Autism Speaks Website, especially if you are the parent of a newly diagnosed child. So much information here. Check it out.
I love this essay. Written in 1987, it spoke to me in the early days of the diagnosis and has truly touched so many people.
by Emily Perl Kingsley.
c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley.
All rights reserved
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……
When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”
“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”
But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.