A matter of looking forward and learning.

One thing I learned in life is we are constantly evolving, growing and learning. We experience so much in our life during a normal life span that it is hard to quantify all the many experiences we encounter and how we are affected by each and every one. Some experiences are insignificant and some are very profound. As we start our early development if our brains are formed normally we will absorb a great deal during our infancy through our toddler years. Our brain is constantly growing and developing during these years.

In autistic children the brain development is slowed and typically the result is impaired social interaction and communication and a common occurrence of repetitive behaviors. Usually these signs manifest before the age of three. Autism is defined on a spectrum which identifies the degrees of severity and one form of autism is Asperger syndrome which affects cognitive development and language skills in a child. These children see the world differently and their response and reactions are quite different from normal developing children. It is essential that autistic children have their situation addressed as soon as the parents learn of their condition because if they are treated at an early age before three they stand a better chance of making improvement and learning proper social protocol so they can adapt and grow like the other children.

Looking through the eyes of an autistic child can bring sadness if the child is severely affected as they tend to have very poor communication skills and it can really break your heart. These children need intense therapy and certainly a lot of patience, dedication and compassion. All children deserve a chance and autistic children are capable of great things if they are given the chance. They just need a lot more resources and their parents need proper support as well.

We see our son as a very creative and imaginative child who started out slow in speech and communication and as he has grown we have seen remarkable improvement and it is attributed to him being placed in Early intervention and having teachers who seem to care and very loving parents. We learn every day when it comes to autism as there is no set remedy. We have to learn to adapt to our son’s needs and seek all the necessary support and guidance to get him acclimated to school and to experiencing a full and enjoyable education. As he grows he is expected to conduct himself in a way where he is able to fit in. It is not always easy for him but he is doing better and we are very encouraged and we look at the baby steps as that is monumental for us and we are delighted that he is moving forward. Our son seems to be wise beyond his years and he can engage in conversation when he chooses to but it is not always consistent and sometimes he has to be prodded to.

I try to impart my own experiences and what I have learned to my son and my dad had done the same for me and for our son also. Matthew was very proud of Pop and he loved to talk about his working days when he worked on the Verrazano bridge and he would listen intently and ask several questions and Pop delighted in talking with Matthew. It was precious and priceless.

Matthew knows he has autism and he is not ashamed which I am grateful for as he understands and that is very important. He is realizing that he has to overcompensate for his weaknesses and that is ok because once you understand and realize this it then makes your situation a little bit more tolerable and then you can move forward and learn.

We are committed to helping Matthew learn and develop and experience and grow so he can realize his true potential and we look forward to the day he graduates high school and starts on to college. We are very optimistic for our son and we care very much for him and whatever it takes we will provide him with it so he can have what I have been given from my mom and dad who made tremendous sacrifices for our success.

Sometimes I feel we are tested but we never get down as we always need to be positive so our son will learn from us in the appropriate way. Children do learn from their parents so we also must be able to deal with challenges and cope so they learn the right things and experience all those wonderful things we have.

Edward D. Iannielli III

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