Voices from the Spectrum: Parents, Grandparents, Siblings, People with Autism, and Professionals Share Their Wisdom

By Cindy N. Ariel; Robert A. Naseef | Go to book overview

22. On the Wings of Asperger's

Carol Anne Swett

On that crisp February day, white caps danced to the music of the screaming seagulls. Flashes of sunlight flickered like darts flung from the surface of the Chesapeake Bay. Rather than soaring with the gulls, my heart was heavy. [Mommy am I sick?] intruded the somber voice of my sevenyear-old.

I knew instantly that my response would forever determine his reaction to life. I was about to chart the course of his future with no time to choose or polish my words. Would I set him free to sail on the wings of life? Would I forever chain him to a diagnosis he was yet too young to understand?

A seven-year journey that began when he was less than four weeks old had just ended in a doctor's office. The crank of a crib mobile launched our frenzied search. When the tinny sound engulfed the nursery, Will let out a scream which still echoes in my soul fourteen years later. He went taut and turned purple as the music drove him over some hidden cliff. I snatched him up and tried to shield his board-stiff body. What was this horror visited upon us?

He slept fitfully, napping only 45 minutes a day. I became weary in ways I couldn't explain. The world challenged him in ways that didn't make sense. He had fine and gross motor coordination deficits, motor planning difficulties, and was hypersensitive to sounds. Despite the challenges, he flourished.

He looked through industrial catalogs naming gauges and valves at 16 months. At office supply stores, he could name every type of computer printer on the market and list the pros and cons. Clocks and ceiling fans mesmerized him. No trip to the hardware store was complete without visiting those aisles. He quoted passages from [Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer] by 16 months and potty trained at 18 months. Everyone agreed he was brilliant and would be the joy of his future teachers, but (tsk…tsk…) his mom was a neurotic basket case.

He was diagnosed with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) at age three. Was our quest for answers over? Unsettling puzzle

-103-

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Voices from the Spectrum: Parents, Grandparents, Siblings, People with Autism, and Professionals Share Their Wisdom
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 7
  • Introduction: Learning from Autism 12
  • Part 1: Raising a Child on the Autism Spectrum 15
  • 1: The Ride for Autism 17
  • 2: The Tree's on Fire 21
  • 3: Perspectives 25
  • 4: Facing the Pain of Autism—and Surviving 29
  • 5: Happy with My Daughter 33
  • 6: Through the Looking Glass 36
  • 7: My Will 40
  • 8: Jenius 45
  • 9: School Days 49
  • 10: You Never Know 53
  • 11: Talk to Me, My Darling 56
  • 12: Our Lives at the Edge of the Spectrum 60
  • 13: Pulling String 64
  • 14: Still the Same Boy! 68
  • 15: Stump the Cook 73
  • 16: Taking the Bag off 78
  • 17: Truth: The Parents' Spectrum 82
  • 18: Listening to Macord 87
  • 19: Parallel Worlds 92
  • 20: The Question 96
  • 21: Simply Perfect 99
  • 22: on the Wings of Asperger's 103
  • 23: Learning to Embrace the [A] Word 107
  • 24: on Eating Biscuits 112
  • 25: Katie's Question 116
  • Part 2: The Grandparents' Connection 119
  • 26: Barefooted Band-Aid Boy 121
  • 27: Lap Time 124
  • 28: An Unexpected Gift of Love 128
  • 29: A Grandmother's Story 132
  • 30: Come with Me, Grandma 136
  • Part 3: The Sibling Experience 139
  • 31: An Unexpected Blessing 141
  • 32: Growing Up with Bradley 145
  • 33: Living Life 149
  • 34: Their Sound Has Gone out 153
  • 35: Why Am I So Resentful? 156
  • 36: My Brother…ahhhhhhhh! 158
  • Part 4: Diagnosed on the Spectrum 161
  • 37: No! You Don't Understand! 163
  • 38. It Never Rains… 167
  • 39. …it Pours 171
  • 40. Melt(D)Ing Down 175
  • 41. Relativity 178
  • 42. Essay on Autism 180
  • 43. the Way We Think 185
  • 44. the Chains of Friendship: An Autistic Person's Perspective on Interpersonal Relationships 189
  • 45. Jordan's Gift 194
  • 46. the Importance of Parents in the Success of People with Autism 199
  • 47. Culture, Conditions, and Personhood: A Response to the Cure Debate on Autism 204
  • Part 5: Working on the Spectrum 209
  • 48. a Sound from Kuwait 211
  • 49. Learning from Oliver 215
  • 50. Closet Case: Finding the Way out 219
  • 51. the Wizard of Echolalia 223
  • 52. Two Autistic Children— a World of Difference 227
  • 53. Life as a Cooking Pot 232
  • 54. Moving to the Heart of the Matter 237
  • 55. Circle of Devotion 241
  • 56. Playing with Hudson 245
  • 57. the Path of Acceptance for Families 249
  • 58. the Challenges of Autism: An Introspection 253
  • 59. No Looking Back 256
  • 60. Spiderman at Mini-Camp 260
  • Appendix: Further Reading and Internet Resources 264
  • About the Editors 268
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