A voice for Autism
I can't imagine what life would be like if I could not verbalize how I feel. We all have feelings and are affected by our emotions and it is only natural to express ourselves with our words. We learn from an early age to communicate with our parents and it all starts from when we are babies. When we are developing as children we will experience many encounters and the lessons we learn at home and in school will have profound influence in our life. We will all progress in our own way and our personalities will start to take shape as we grow and develop friendships.
All children have a need to express themselves and to feel accepted and have friends. Sadly there are obstacles for some children as they face life with challenges that others do not fully understand or never get to know about. Children who are diagnosed with autism tend to live in isolation and have very few friends if they have friends at all. It is hard to change the routine of an autistic child and for many children on the spectrum it is very common for them to find comfort in familiarity. Autistic children tend to spend more time by themselves and they occupy their time doing things that are repetitive in nature and for long periods of time.
As children develop there are many factors that affect their self esteem and the way they feel about themselves and it is so important for them to develop friendships, participate in activities and find the right school to attend. When we try to meet the needs of autistic children we really have to find effective ways in reaching them, teaching them, involving them and inspiring them. All autistic children need to have a strong and loving family to help support and encourage them in every aspect of their life. For a parent when they first learn their child is autistic it is a life changing moment in time that will never be forgotten. Suddenly all the dreams and hopes you had for your child now becomes a quiet and reflective prayer for your child to have a normal life with the same chances other children have. It is a very emotional and devastating time when you hear the words your child is autistic spoken by a medical professional. When we learn our child is autistic that is when we have to really step up and make the hardest decisions in our life. We must do everything for our child and be their biggest advocate. We have to be their voice and we have to have patience and plenty of love in our heart.
I am a father of an autistic son and I know in my heart that he has tremendous potential and deserves to have all the opportunities he deserves and though he has few friendships he has a big heart and is capable of making many friends. He is such a wonderful kid with a caring and friendly way about him. He is sensitive and he always enjoys talking to young kids whenever we go out to the beach, the park or the store. If a child is crying his immediate reaction is to approach the child and try to calm them down as he offers reassuring words. He really is very sincere and he is reaching out to express himself and offer his friendship. I really feel for my son because I realize he really means well but his good intentions sometimes are misunderstood. For the most part children are receptive and their parents think it is cute as they smile and say "thank you young man."
My biggest wish for my son is that he starts to realize he is a wonderful kid and he can do anything he sets his mind to. I want him to feel good about himself and I want him to smile and be a kid for as long as possible. I want him to learn, feel confident and strive to do the best he can and to find interests that help him to develop, to grow and to provide him joy as he experiences his childhood and interacts with other children his age. I try to go into his mind to try to understand what he is feeling but I am not autistic and I will never truly know what it is like to be autistic but I know how much I love him and how much I want to be there for him to support and help him as any parent would.
Voice Autism is special to me because it is my personal campaign to help my son, autistic children and families in finding a "voice" to help their child to find their way and to be represented and respected. All autistic children regardless of their diagnosis need to be loved, respected and nurtured so they can feel like they belong and are accepted by others. We as parents have to speak for our children, be their advocate and be their voice so we can make a positive difference in their life and give them a sense of hope and a feeling of comfort. As I explore this incredible journey with my son and my wife I will also try to express my desires and my hopes in helping my son. I am inspired to help my son and to develop a forum for others to come to learn and contribute. I wish to provide my insight and my experiences in a way that will be helpful to someone who also has an autistic child. If we were able to connect with others and share our experiences with the intention of helping our children and others then I would feel like I am doing something worthwhile. I am passionate in my writing and in my desire to always be supportive of my son because he is what makes my life meaningful and he has made it possible for me to smile and to cry. I smile a lot more but I admit I do cry for my son because I love him very much and I want to help him in his life and give him the best I can as his father. I dedicate Voice Autism and all it represents to my son and I will work to make it a wonderful resource for the Autistic community and for all who wish to learn what Autism is all about and help an autistic child by giving them a voice.
Love you Matty!
This is for you kid!
Edward D. Iannielli III
Voices and Autism
- The Voices of Autism - NYTimes.com
The autism-spectrum disorders encompass a wide range of symptoms, from social awkwardness to a complete inability to interact and communicate. Here, six men and women speak about living with autism, Asperger's and related disorders.