When you are an autism parent, there is an exponential effect to importance of constant learning. Every day there are new theories, new treatments, new tools for your child to try to improve his life, newly suggested answers to the mysterious questions of a disorder so dumbfouding its awareness symbol is a jigsaw puzzle. So much is studied, written, and engineered on a continual basis--and sometimes at such a brisk clip---you want to run screaming...well, you get me. There is also--as with any child--always so much to learn about your changing child, his developing personhood and intellect, his needs and special gifts.
But tools and technology are just a small piece of the learning puzzle. Every ASD child has his place on a broad spectrum of idiocsyncratic special needs, and keeping on top of them is a dance we perfect every day. For example, can you imagine your child needing to be put under general anesthesia in Children's Hospital just for a teeth cleaning? Would you be able to dream of your kindergartener wearing tarmac-style earmuffs to drown out the noise of an everyday community setting? What if gluten or cow's milk or food additives or plastics had the ability to impact whether your child could sleep, cope, learn? Have you ever tried to reconcile your belief in a God of absolute good when your little boy can be terrified to tears by an unfriendly or confusing facial expression? Or wondered how God could so bless you with a gentle, polite child so full of humor and smart as a whip, who teaches you so much about what is important in this life?
Oh, LORD, I still have so much to learn about autism, about your plan and purposes, about my child, and about where we all belong on this spectrum of joy. In the new year give me the strength and the patience. And please, accordingly, expand my head.