A hand is for holding
Leading the way!
I remember as a young child having my struggles relating to others and pretty much keeping to myself. I was comfortable in my world of silence though I was not autistic. I was just very shy and felt closed in. The people and fascinations that helped open my world were my mom and dad, my sisters, my friends, music, reading and baseball. I was very lucky to have special people in my life who cared and helped me get through times that were difficult. As a kid I remember having a wonderful childhood even though I did experience loneliness. I believe most kids growing up do feel lonely and isolated at times. The reason why I go back to the times I felt this way is to gain insight into why my son feels alone. My son is not shy like I was. I am not autistic like he is but I try to learn and understand autism through those feelings I had as a young kid dealing with social anxiety. I truly believe there is some link between shyness and autism. If there is no direct link there certainly is a lot of similarity.
I have vivid memories of holding my son when he was a tiny baby and I remember how precious and totally reliant he was on my wife and I and how I felt so inspired and nervous at the same time. That precious time made me think back to my parents and I realized in my heart how much they loved my sisters and I and it made me feel special knowing that they cared for us and would do anything and everything for us and I am eternally grateful to them. I respect my parents very much and sometimes get emotional knowing they are both gone now but I hold on to the precious memories and follow their lead in raising my son. My wife and I are so concerned for our son in his daily struggles with autism and epilepsy that we come across sometimes as being over protective but it is just natural parental concern. It is a child that brings a husband and wife together to share their love for their child and for each other and it really makes life very special.
When I see how much a child learns in their first few years and how much they develop I am amazed and sometimes feel sad that we tend to lose sight of how truly special this time is because we are so busy attending to our child's needs as a baby and our work responsibilities that we never really get to enjoy our children as babies because of all the anxiety we have to deal with. As we start to enjoy that time our baby is now a toddler and as we go through that stage with them we also miss out sometimes on how special it is because we also are now dealing with tantrums, fussiness, safety issues and typical things toddlers experience.
In raising a special needs child their development is typically slower and they have challenges that most kids do not have. It is very important to always remain calm, level headed, strong willed, patient, devoted, understanding and very compassionate. We only live one life and we have to remember that it is so important to always be appreciative for what we do have and to always be responsible and dedicated to the ones we love. Our children always come first.
I remember as a young boy growing up hearing my mom and dad say to me that they would always be there for us no matter what and they were true to their word as they were always there for us. My wife and I will always be there for our son and we are so grateful as parents and feel truly blessed that we have been given such a wonderful gift of our son. Sure he has special needs but I would not change one thing about my son because he is so special and why would I want to take that away. Our son is a joy and a pleasure and we only hope that he grows and experiences all the happy and exciting things in life. Sure life is difficult too and we have to help our son understand that and teach him how to adapt to those times. Life is not always what we want it to be and so we have to make the best of it.
When I think back to my childhood and the things that made me happy and influenced me I would have to say that music played a big part. I enjoyed listening to songs that had meaning and touched me and one of my most favorite songs was "He ain't heavy, He's my brother" by the Hollies which really was very powerful and emotional. Another song that touched me and helped me learn about life was the song "Sunshine on my shoulders" by John Denver. The song that really was my favorite back in the early 70's was 'Close to you" by The Carpenters. It is music that helped me as a child and it is music that helps my son as a child. Music is powerful, inspirational and very beautiful as it touches all of us and helps to bring a smile to a young child's face.
I will always lead the way for my son to help him realize that we all have a reason for our life and all we go through. I believe it is God's way in testing us to make us stronger and better so we can lead the way and teach others. Life is all about reaching out to help others and show them the way and I truly believe that. Autism is surely a challenge and it is also a blessing when you realize the true potential that an autistic child has. We just have to nurture the child and help them bring that talent out and develop it so they can share it with others and inspire all who get to experience the joy of it.
I was deeply touched by a young man from England who posted a video on my facebook page showcasing his wonderful gift of art through photography. He is diagnosed with Asperger's and has so many challenges and this incredible gift. I am so proud of him that I have displayed his video here to show the world how truly talented he is and I hope others will recognize that all autistic children and adults have truly special gifts and deserve to have the opportunity to share it with the world. Watch and enjoy this young man's video because it is truly amazing and inspiring!
I look forward to sharing my son's special moments and achievements as well as only a proud father can. My son is truly my most proudest achievement and I want him to prosper and live his life filled with peace, joy, happiness, companionship, success and fulfillment. He deserves all good things in life and I will always be there for him no matter what because I love him so and I will always reach my hand out to him to grab hold of.
Edward D. Iannielli III