I have used the internet a great deal to learn about autism, epilepsy, parent support groups that meet to discuss such matters, schools for children with disabilities, camp and after school programs and legal planning for children with disabilities. I am amazed how much information is literally at your fingertips and how much I have learned over the years. I am always learning as we know Matthew’s condition will be something that will affect him throughout his childhood into his adulthood so we need to properly plan for his future and also save for his educational needs after high school.
I have also learned that there are places that train dogs to help children with epilepsy and also children with autism. They are trained to come to the aid of these children in the aftermath of a seizure or autistic meltdown and they may even be able to detect when a seizure is imminent. We have considered this as an option for our son if his epilepsy became more prevalent. The thought of having a family dog even if not trained may be a good idea for our son as a companion. Matthew seems to enjoy befriending dogs as he enjoys visiting with my sister who has 3 dogs of differing sizes and he enjoys playing and interacting with them.
I also use the internet as a social utility with the advent of Facebook, MySpace and Youtube I have been able to connect with family, old friends and new friends who are in some way affected by autism, epilepsy or both like us. I find it helpful to connect with others as it takes my mind off my worries and concerns for a little while and allows me to write and converse. I have also enjoyed getting back in touch with old high school friends both male and female and have been touched by some of them as they had helped me in dealing with the loss of my dad. I was able to write things in tribute to my dad and had a lot of friends leave me comments that helped me through it and one of the girl’s from my high school was so helpful with her support and writings that I was excited to meet her and her husband at our high school reunion and she really touched me when she gave me a big hug. She said she was looking forward to seeing me and made the trip from Tennessee so she could comfort me in my time of need. She literally brought a tear to my eyes as she made me feel special. I was so happy to reconnect with her and owe it to Facebook.
I also enjoy spending time with my son and we watch his favorite movie clips on youtube and some of his favorite music artist’s videos. He also enjoys watching domino videos and we get quite a kick out of watching them.
Since we started accessing the internet it seems that it is a daily part of our lives and when we are not able to access it we can get a bit frustrated as it now seems like a necessity now that we can do so much more nowadays.
I told my wife about Facebook and how I have been able to connect with so many people and she seems reluctant but I feel if she signed up she would be able to get in touch with her family and friends from the Philippines. It is amazing how far reaching the internet is and how much you can benefit from using it.
So when I have some alone time I will have my rhapsody playing in the background with my favorite music as I search the internet to learn how I can help my son and family and make a few more friends in the process.
Edward D. Iannielli III