Today is World Autism Awareness Day. April is Autism Awareness month.
Do you know someone with Autism?
The statistics are staggering ... 1 in 68 children are affected.
And I know one of them. His name is Peter, and he is my nephew.
I hesitate to write this because it's not my story. It's a story only my sister can tell, and my brother-in-law, and their two older boys.
And yet, I can't hold back the admiration and love I have for them and this, at least, is a story I can share.
I am very close with my sister. We talk several times a week, text and/or email each other daily, and turn to each other, as sisters do, with problems, questions, funny stories, or ideas. And yet, as much as I know my sister, I can't begin to know -- really know -- what it's like to raise a child with needs.
I don't know what it's like to have therapists in and out of your house. I have no concept of the amount of paperwork, forms, and evaluations which must be documented, copied, forwarded, and filed. I don't know what it feels like to solve one problem, only to have another one appear. I don't know what it's like to think outside the box to accommodate Peter's needs: attaching an alarm on the front door so he doesn't wander outside, hanging a Dutch door in his room so they can keep an eye on him, or figuring out how to diagnose him when he can't tell you his sick.
What I know, I know vicariously, and it will never be enough.
So I see my sister making picture books and wading through four months of paperwork to obtain a "talker" so Peter can communicate; I see my brother-in-law playing "green chair" with Peter, his favorite game which involves running around the yard with a green lawn chair; I see Peter's older brothers hugging him and sitting on the floor to play with him; I see a family who does what it has to do to make sure Peter has everything he needs.
I see all these things, and I am touched by all the goodness and love (lots and lots of love!) in the midst of so much which is unknown.
|My adorable nephew, Peter.|