Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
— Leonard Cohen, Anthem

Lessons from Autism

For the past eighteen years, I've had the privilege, and the often intense challenge, of being the parent and full-time primary caregiver to an interesting young man living with Autism Spectrum Disorder. As anyone who knows autism will tell you, each person with autism is unique, with his or her own personal constellation of strengths and frustrations. My son falls on the "high functioning" end of the autism spectrum. He is intelligent and highly verbal, reads faster and with better comprehension than anyone else I know (though rarely for fun), and is quite a whiz with all things technological (the kid really knows his way around the guts of a computer). However, it's a struggle for him to put his thoughts into words, he has difficulty understanding the nuances of interpersonal interactions, and shoelaces may forever remain a mystery (hooray for Velcro!).

We have both learned a lot and grown a great deal during our eighteen-year (so far) journey together. When I look back at the road we've traveled, I'm often amazed at the progress my son has made, and I know I've been molded by the experience into quite a different person than I would have been without it. Now that we're entering a stage of life in which he is increasingly able to manage without me, I'm enjoying the opportunity to delve into other things, such as writing--and one thing that has surprised and delighted me is how the lessons I've learned through my experiences with my son also help me be a better writer. I'd like to share some of those lessons here, in the hopes that others will also find them helpful. 

 

More coming soon...