When I see my son and I talk with him at this time of the year I realize how precious it is to be a kid as I see my son get all excited in anticipation of the holidays and the Christmas season. We always ask him to write out his list for Santa Claus and to make sure he doesn’t ask for too much because Santa has so many kids to get presents for. He is still at the age where he has that magical and wonderful belief that we all remember as young children and it is wonderful to know that, as it makes the holidays so special and when we see our son delight in opening his presents and saying Santa brought him what he wished for it brings a smile not only to his face but to ours as well.
I feel since Matthew is autistic he seems to have a level of sensitivity and innocence that most kids outgrow sooner. Our son is very caring and reaches out and does have empathy for other children which kind of goes against the notion of autism and the ability to relate to others because Matthew is very good at understanding when someone is upset and his initial reaction is to calm them and reassure them that everything will be ok.
I enjoy taking Matthew to the movies and seeing his expressions as he watches the big screen. The last major movie we saw together was Michael Jackson’s This is It and we really enjoyed it and Matthew was quite amazed at Michael’s dance moves and his personality. He really got to see Michael at his best and after the movie was over we talked about him and Matthew said Michael is and will always be the best musical entertainer he has seen and appreciated seeing his show. We both enjoyed it very much and Matthew was sad knowing that Michael was gone but he felt that Michael left us all such wonderful music and a special gift of his work and his compassion to help others to make the world a better place.
I explained to Matthew that Michael had a childlike innocence too and that was what made him truly special and we all could learn from him in his dedication to his music and his reaching out to others. The innocence of youth is a precious gift and we try to hold on to that innocence for as long as we can because that is what makes us young and free spirited and without prejudices. We are completely accepting and completely honest in our feelings and we have dreams and hopes that stay with us for as long as we hold them close to our heart.
I always tell Matthew to dream and hope for all the things he would like to accomplish and never lose sight of them for that is what keeps us young and allows us to develop into our own and gives us the drive and ambition in our lives.
I appreciate the simple things that make my son happy and I try to participate with him in those activities and show him my approval and enthusiasm. Matthew loves to save pictures from the internet of cars of many types and styles from sporty to fuel efficient to environmentally conscious and it’s great to see his interest and desire to learn of the many kinds of cars and to set up a folder where he saves them according to type and year. He derives joy from this and can spend at least an hour doing this. He was upset when he informed me that the VW Beatle, the car he loves is going to be discontinued. I was surprised when he told me this and asked him how he knew and he simply said, “the internet” and I said I should have known. He also loves music and his favorite artist of all time is Elvis Presley and he loves to play music from the internet selecting different artists and different songs and pretends he is a dj and he says the call letters and the name of the artist and song before he plays it. I really get a kick out of this. He also loves doing music blocks and his favorite artist for this obviously is Elvis, “The King” as Matthew says.
I think these activities are great for him but I do wish he had more interaction with kids his own age.
So it is a pleasure to see Matthew growing and enjoying his activities and I enjoy experiencing seeing him during his youth and I cherish his innocence and I always hope that he will hold on to this for as long as possible because it is such a wonderful thing and even though he has autism he has a lot of wonderful qualities that truly make him a special kid and I am so happy he is my son.
Edward D. Iannielli III