The motivation for this piece was the informative and moving article published by Jesse Sage, ‘The Invisible War in My Brain’ on September 24, 2023.
The …War in My Brain” line was particularly moving because I’ve spent the last seven years tending to a grandson with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). As he matures, he seems to be learning how to come to grips with the war in his brain, but the best he can hope for is an armistice. There will never be genuine peace.
His ability to adapt is improving, but I’m unhappy because I want him to stay unique, stay him. Being like the rest of us isn’t, in itself, a good thing. He’ll stare off into space, and I can’t get his attention, so I’ll tap him on the shoulder and ask, “Is this thing on?”
He’ll laugh and respond, “I was buffering.”
He’s home-schooled because his behavior is atypical, and Special Ed teachers don’t possess the skill set to deal with him. He’s also realized he’s different, and some don’t appreciate the difference.
CDC.gov, 2020 statistic year, “Data & Statistics on Autism Spectrum Disorder.” About 1 in 36 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to estimates from CDC. That should be a shocking statistic to everyone. If you haven’t been exposed to the spectrum yet, you will be. The last line in Jesse’s article is, “Remember that compassion goes a long way to help heal wounds that you cannot see.” The need for compassion applies to more than wounds you cannot see.
Several years ago, I wrote a book on dealing with autism. Autism: One Grandparents Roadmap is published as an eBook precisely because of the live resource links included. The book is a collection of anecdotes about my grandson, but I envisioned it as a tool kit for those who needed a starting point on their journey with the spectrum. The tales are cute, but if you don’t open the links and learn, I don’t see much value. At a minimum, you’ll understand when people discuss the spectrum and when they have no idea what they’re talking about.
My hope is you will take the opportunity to educate yourselves about ASD. I want you to know what you’re seeing and how to respond when you meet my grandson: he’s worth knowing.
Geoffrey Robinson is a published author who also writes for magazines and blogs. He retired from the military with multiple combat tours and then spent a career in the contract industry. He’s spent years living in Asia, Europe, and time in the Middle East, and South America. Geoffrey is an avid marathon runner who has competed in races from Anchorage to Cairo. He affectionally calls Dun Laoghaire, Ireland home. He currently lives in Maryland to be close to his children and grandchildren.
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