The loneliness of autism: seeking answers

Sometimes we have to really look hard for answers and we must understand that they may not be so evident. We also must be open minded to all the endless possibilities proposed in dealing with the mysteries and the unknown surrounding autism. When I see my son and realize he’s a young boy starting to express himself and talk in a mature way I sometimes wonder why he still has his struggles because he is so bright and very mature in some ways and in some ways still has difficulty with his behavior in social situations. I know Matthew does not mean to behave inappropriately and he really is a good kid with good intentions. He is under medication to help him but still occasionally he will have his tantrums and outbursts and this will prompt a phone call from his teacher. He is making improvement but still is experiencing these outbursts in the classroom on occasion and his teachers are concerned about it and so are we naturally. I have sat down many times and looked Matthew in the eyes to discuss these outbursts and explain to him that this type of behavior can not be tolerated and he has to follow the rules of his teachers and control his urges. He listens to me and tells me he understands and I hope that this time he truly does and will be able to control himself.

It seems difficult for Matthew to make friends because of his behavioral problems and his resistance to joining in group sports and other types of activities. We realize it is imperative that we get him involved in some form of after school activity but with two working parents it is hard to work our schedules to accommodate transportation. I would love to see him involved in activities after school and Maria would have to make herself available to pick him up. In participating in sports or other activities there is the opportunity of making friendships and Matthew desperately needs to make friends and be accepted by others. The hardest thing it seems arranging are play dates because his classmates do not live close and here we are again faced with transportation arrangements and having trust that our son will behave in his friend’s home appropriately. It just seems so difficult arranging these social outings as much as we would like to.

In raising an autistic child there are so many questions that come to mind in addressing how to improve your child’s situation and help them through difficult moments they experience. Obviously a child’s progress does not happen overnight as it requires continued dedication and devotion and the help of many people. We rely a lot on the school and trust the teachers are doing their part in teaching our son and opening his eye and expanding his mind. We also play a major part in our son’s development and we always encourage him and try to help him through his difficult moments. We always show our affection towards him and tell him how much we love him everyday as that is very important in building his self esteem.

I feel it is important to expose him to many situations so he adapts and understands how to conduct himself. Unfortunately it is not so simple since my time is limited. So when I have my full weekends I try always to spend the weekend doing things with Matthew during the day which is something we both look forward to when we have it preplanned and when we are spontaneous in what we decide to do. The main thing is getting Matthew out and doing something constructive even if it is going to the park or a movie. We generally go out to lunch for whatever he chooses and then depending on the weather we choose to do something outdoors or indoors.

It is important to use all the resources available to us and the internet to help in obtaining clues and answers to all the questions we must ask to help us understand and we must display our understanding and quietly work through these issues so ultimately we can help our son through these difficulties and also encourage him in developing friends and doing well in his class.

I know how much my son means to both Maria and I and we will always support our son and provide him our love and support and help him in understanding his responsibilities and in understanding how he should conduct himself. I feel we will always be seeking answers but the main issue we learn which is the most important is that Matthew is doing the best he can and we have to trust that he will make progress and outgrow the inappropriate behavior and fit in and make a close friend or 2 which is really all he wishes for at this time in his life.

Edward D. Iannielli III

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