Do you stare at your autistic child like I do? I look at him, marveling at his talents and his coping skills. I would be screaming bloody murder if I couldn't communicate. My friends know this about me. I am frustrated by Greg's lack of communication ability when I know he has important things to tell me. That's what hurts the most. I've reconciled his inability to marry or have children or fit normally into society. I've even reconciled his need to rely on the care of others. He will never independently function in society. I accept this. He is happy with so little. Me? I want everything: travel, a good retirement, good health and family moments. Greg is satisfied with day to day existence. I need to copy his example.
Do you wonder about your autistic child's future? I never stop. Even now that Greg is happily situated in a group home, I think of things that need to be perfected before I die. And die I will. Just went to my 45th high school reunion and looked at the death tree. Forty classmates have passed already. Their photos hung on a tree. I wonder if they got everything done that they needed to accomplish....
Then I hear this. Last week, Ernie (one of Greg's aides) reported that Greg indeed communicated to her. Apparently in a moment of frustration because he hates waiting, he demanded a calendar for his day and Ernie complied. Pulled out a sheet of paper and pencil and took dictation from Greg. As Greg was needling her in a Greggie kind of way, she hurriedly tried to write "bake" for his day's events. She wrote "back".
Greg didn't like that. The triangle of perfection kicked in. Perfectionist, with OCD, with autism. He's quite bossy, too. Said, "No back. BAKE!" Ernie looked at the to-do list, saw "back", laughed and changed the spelling as Greg dictated the correct letters to her.
We have these moments of humor periodically, and we embrace them. Greg learned a lot at Linglestown Elementary School, and despite having significant challenges in communication, moments of stress bring out his abilities. He communicated. Big deal.
No, not a big deal. It's a huge deal. Greg will survive after I am gone. He's got more on the ball than you could ever imagine. All autistics do. I've seen it. Label them all you want, but never quit believing.
Greg finds ways to communicate. This smile says it all.