Blogging has been a neat experience for me. Not only have I been able to reflect on the many things Philip is teaching me, I have been making many new friends who share the experience of having a loved one with autism. I have never met them in person. They live in far off places like California, Louisiana, and the other side of the state I live in. Yet with each person, I feel an immediate bond and kinship. We are part of a special club that is uniquely blessed. They tell me my blog inspires them. They in turn inspire me with their stories, ideas, and love for their kids.
I have asked permission from Ellen to post her story here:
“I too enjoyed reading your blog. It is never too late to start learning about our autistic children. RPM, Soma and Brianne have changed our son’s life for the better. He will be 45 years old next month. The first time he worked with Soma was 4 years ago. These last 4 years we have found out all about the total person that lives inside a "locked body". He is bright, thoughtful, funny, inquisitive and frustrated. We view him differently and treat him differently now. He is still autistic, but he is also a full person. Since he lives in a group home and we spend the winter out of state we have very little opportunity to work with him using RPM. However soon we will return to Austin to see how Soma can help him to move along to become more independent. He currently says each letter and then the word as he touches the letter board. He then types three words he just spelled on the iPad. This still requires someone with RPM training to help guide him. His progress is amazing. We have so many wonderful quotes from him. One of my favorites is, "I want to thank my parents for never giving up on me."”
My desire is that more people will find these stories of hope. When I read Ellen’s son’s words of thanks for never giving up on him, it struck a chord in me. It’s never too late. It’s never too late. I think a lot of parents out there need to hear that. I needed to hear that when I was going through the years Philip was showing no progress, when the nagging thoughts “it’s too late, it will never change, you’ve failed your son” replayed in my head and brought me to the brink of despair. People need to hear that even at age 41, it is not too late. I love Ellen’s words describing their discovery of the “total person” that lived behind her son’s locked body. As a society, we need to see autistic people as being as complete as anyone else. They are not less than or deficient. When we start viewing them as such, we run the risk of seeing them as a burden, a nuisance, something less than human. It is scary to think about the repercussions of this thinking. I believe every person born on this earth is a total person, worthy of respect, dignity, and love. Our kids, no matter what the age, are worth fighting for.
If you are reading this and are a parent who is despairing because of their child, feel free to comment or message me on FB. If you want to contact Soma to teach you how to more effectively communicate with your child, please visit www.Halo-Soma.org .
It is never too late.
Philip at the Lose the Training Wheels Camp 2012