I’m not sure how I missed this but in September, Speaking On Faith, a program produced by American Public Media, did a special on autism. A friend of mine sent me the link to the website.
The interview of Paul Collins and Jennifer Elder looked into their relationship with their son, Morgan, who has autism. Paul Collins, a literary historian, has written a second book on autism called Not Even Wrong: Adventures in Autism. Elder is an artist and author who has written a number of books for chidren regarding autism. Her latest is Different Like Me: My Book of Autism Heroes.
What was funny was that their descriptions of Morgan’s behavior reminds me of all three of my children.
My husband jokes that Gabrielle is “all transmit, no receive.” She’s constantly telling us things that aren’t that important and aren’t urgent but she gets them in her head and they have to come out. Right then, right there. She can be unaware of social nuance and yet be extremely sensitive and emotional. She’s brilliant and gets primarily A’s in school (except handwriting) but getting her to do homework ranks up there with telling her she needs to get a shot at the doctor’s office. She hates it– although getting a shot sends her over the edge. She’d rather watch television over just about anything else. She doesn’t like to read (which drives me absolutely nuts since I prefer reading over television) and getting her attention is like trying to engage a brick wall in conversation.
Peter has a head for geometry– he can identify and tell you what an isosceles triangle is, a parallelogram, a trapezoid, an octagon, and a pentagon as well as the common shapes. He also has a fascination with music, numbers and letters. Will he have an extraordinary ability in math or music? I don’t know but I know I am fascinated watching his abilities develop.
Nathan has been developmentally pokey because of his PDD-NOS but as he catches up we are seeing that he has a knack for reverse engineering (I worry that when he’s older, I’ll see the television or computer taken apart!). He also likes to experiment by “mixing” liquids in glasses to see what happens when he does (of course this has the added effect of making a mess). His mechanical abilities are astonishing. We keep joking that he’ll be an engineer or chemist.
No matter what happens, I have been privileged to have been a part of this. I have learned so much– about myself and the human mind, about my children and what it means to give of yourself. I am truly grateful that God has blessed me–truly blessed me–with my children.