Facing our son’s challenges with optimism and hope

Hope and optimism are words I like and to hold on to both is so important when facing certain challenges that your child encounters as a result of their condition. We all worry for our kids safety and want to make sure they are doing well. When we are faced with situations we have no control over we best put it out of our mind so we don’t needlessly worry. I have my concerns during the day since my son is affected by a seizure disorder and autism that affects his behavior in social settings. When I am preparing to go to work in the morning I try to spend some time with both my wife and son before we start our day. I always feel better when we can. In our busy lives that is not always possible so that is why we have weekends. I always enjoy hearing that Matty had a good day at school or that he made a friend. It makes me feel so much better when I know our son is doing well. On the flip side when he is having a bad day it does weigh on me as I wish to see Matty making progress.

I learned from my dad how important it is to focus on your work and when I am at the office or at a client’s office I always devote myself to my assignments and I take it very seriously. When I am at work I am so busy that I have no time to think of anything else other than the task at hand and completing it.

I believe that it is always important to constantly read and research on the ways autism and epilepsy affect your child and understanding how to effectively help them and maintain a calm disposition. It really does not make the situation any better if you are always concerned. Naturally as a parent we are concerned and that is normal. I try to put things in the right perspective.

I also like to watch movies on the subject of autism to see how it is portrayed and especially enjoy when it is close to our situation with a young child. I have seen some good movies that have given us some insight and entertainment at the same time. A movie my wife and I enjoyed was Mozart and the Whale which was about a young man and woman who are both affected by Asperger’s like our son. It focused on their challenges and their growing relationship and how they were managing and living their lives and getting to share experiences with each other. It was a relevant movie and the director of the movie based it on a true story. Another movie I saw that focused on attributes of autism in the early 1990’s was House of cards about a girl who painfully retreated into her own world after her father’s tragic death and she started exhibiting bazaar behaviors and extraordinary talents. She escaped into a world built around a remarkably large house of cards she created which was incredible. It was also about a mother’s and her son’s struggle to penetrate the young girl’s world and bring her back.

It is important to recognize that autism is on the rise and it not only affects the one who has it but it affects the whole family. Therefore it is necessary to learn all you can so you can face the challenges your child encounters and your own as well. We must be hopeful and optimistic and we must have faith because we need to be there for our child and help them so they can learn to adapt and have positive experiences and great joys and live as comfortably as possible. When you see your child making small steps forward it certainly brings a smile and a feeling of hope which is what we hold on to for our children. The hope that somehow their lives will be better than ours. We always want the best for our kids. My parents wished that for us and we are no different in our feelings of wanting that for our son as well.

Edward D. Iannielli III

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