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My son, autism and Elvis
My son, autism and the king
If you tried to envision the world an autistic child lives in you would probabaly think that it is a dark and mysterious place because we don't understand it unless we too escaped into our safe little place too when we were young kids. For most autistic children there is a time when they withdraw from their parents, their family and their friends to escape into a world that is safe to them and not so dark or mysterious. To them it is their safe place where they find comfort, quiet, peace and an escape from the imposing social cues that the outside world creates for us to integrate in our chaotic lives. That is the main difficulty that autistic children have to live with is the inability to have meaningful social interaction. It takes a great deal of time, patience and dedication of so many people to open up an autistic child's world and help them connect to the world we know and live in every day.
As the father of an autistic child I try to understand what my son goes through when he is having difficulties and I try to be very sympathetic and allow him to try to express what is happening. I have seen my son at his best when everything is going well for him and I have seen him at his lowest point when he is so frustrated he loses his composure and has a "melt down" where he is completely out of control. Fortunately these meltdowns don't happen everyday because they are very difficult to see and deal with and for my son it is a very real crisis happening in that moment in time that causes him to react with such pain and anger.
I have learned that music helps calm my son and allows him to thrive and find peace and comfort and it is one of our most effective means in helping him get through a difficult time. As a follower of music and one who sincerely appreciates it's power and beauty I have managed to introduce my son to music artists I grew up listening to as a kid and am delighted to see how much my son loves and appreciates the music and the artists I've grown to know and love.
One artist that has had a profound impact on both my life and my son's is Elvis Presley and I have recollections of my son listening to Elvis as a small boy as he developed an interest in his music on Rhapsody when he was just a little boy creating play lists. He created several Elvis Presley play lists that enabled me to work late into the night on occasion listening to them. I also remember playing his music at night when my son was just a baby in the crib and he seemed to sleep peacefully to his lullabies. He seemed to take to Elvis's music right from the very beginning. I was quite delighted to see how much he enjoyed listening to it and how it has influenced him. He even sings Elvis songs when my wife has a Karaoke party and he usually wows our family, friends and guests when he sings on cue.
I remember listening to Elvis because my mother was a big fan and she just loved his way and his singing. She was always listening to his music and because of her I became a fan of his music too and so have my wife and son. My most favorite Elvis song would have to be In the Ghetto as it is such a touching and powerful song and one that brings tears to my eyes. Elvis always delivered his music with such emotion and beauty. Two other favorite songs of mine would have to be Suspicious minds and Jailhouse rock.
I was inspired to write this entry when my son created a list of his most favorite Elvis Presley songs and I am indicating his first 5 most favorite songs on the list as follows:
1) Teddy bear
2) Suspicious minds
3) Jailhouse rock
4) A little less conversation
5) All shook up
I was quite impressed with my son's choices and I know he puts a lot of time into his lists and this is a tribute to Elvis for the beautiful music he left us, to my mom who I miss and love very much and cherish for she exposed me to such wonderful music from Elvis Presley that are precious memories, to my dad who also was a fan of the king and his favorite song was his version of Amazing Grace and to my son who inspires me every day and makes me so proud and gives me such wonderful ideas and gives me the opportunity to share Elvis's music with all of you.
My son has autism but that does not limit him in any way and he is a very gifted and intelligent boy who has great ideas and visions and is very creative and I encourage him to further his creativity through his interest in music and I will complile his lists and use them in my writing to show the world how much my son inspires me and shows me how truly special he is.
Edward D. Iannielli III