An autistic child can teach us too!



I have experienced life for a good many years now and can say I’ve learned a lot through the many experiences I’ve encountered from childhood to the present. I have come to realize over the years that life is fleeting and it is not perfect and we have uncertainties and challenges and it can be hard but we also have love, hope and wonder. As life marches on we have to keep up with the band so we don’t stop hearing the music. It is the music that is life and life is the music that is so sweet to our ears.

Sometimes I wondered what our lives would be like if we knew the future and could see it beforehand. I believe most of us would not want to see it because it would take away the mystique. The part of life that is difficult is experiencing loss. I think we live our lives thinking everything will be as it was with all the important people in our lives being there always but then reality hits and when we start to experience loss of loved ones it really has an impact that stays with us throughout our lives.

In talking with my son who is on the autistic spectrum with asperger’s he wishes that we would live forever and never experience the pain of loss. In his mind he can not accept the reality and I don’t expect him too. Sometimes it can be very difficult explaining such emotional topics such as this with my son especially because he is autistic so I go with what he believes. I am not an expert but I know in time he will learn the difficult realities but I love his innocence and his vision. It makes me smile as he says “Pop” is still with us. He’s just on vacation. My son can not accept anything but that so I go along with it. He knows that we don’t see “Pop” anymore but to him that is because he is away but he truly believes in his heart that he will see him again. I can not take this away from him. I have learned the compassion and the innocence my son has. I love the idea that he still believes in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy. To him he blocks out the difficult things and only sees the good and he needs to be shielded from the sad things we encounter. In his thinking September 11th is not real and he does not accept it. He believes the towers are still there and all the people are safe. It really makes me sad that things like this happen in life and I too wish it didn’t like my son believes. I however know the truth but I want my son to believe in his vision. The truth is that the towers are really still there.

My son’s vision is of hope and goodwill. He sees that we live in a world where everyone can be kind and extend their friendship to one another. I allow my son to hold on to this utopia because he is a kid and he should feel this way. I don’t want to see him upset. I want him to have hope and dream big. Our childhood is the best part of our lives and it is a time when we need to feel safe and protected and know that everything will be ok. My son has a heart as big as the distance from here to the moon. He just feels the need to assure crying babies and kids that everything will be ok and he is not inhibited. He just innocently goes to the crying child and wants to comfort them. He is such a wonderful kid and I just love his sense of goodwill. I try to explain to him that he has to understand that although his intentions are good not all people will understand this and he has to be very careful and not always be so native. I know my son has a wonderful trait and I would never discourage him from trying to help others but I want him to exercise proper judgement and to be careful and not always be so trusting. Unfortunately we don’t live in a perfect world and there is a harshness to life sometimes.

Another thing about my son that can be frustrating is that he is just like the energizer bunny. He just keeps on going and going and going. He never wants to sleep and he always puts up a good fight. In his mind sleeping is boring and he wants to always be active and doing things. My wife and I explain to him the importance of a good night sleep but he still insists that he wants to be awake and doing things. I don’t know why he feels this way but I have grown to learn that a lot of autistic children do indeed have difficulty sleeping. I am not an expert as to why but I know it is more common with children on the autistic spectrum. We have to be very firm with him and we have to stay with him to make sure he stays in his bed and sometimes my wife will stay with him for an hour or two before he finally falls asleep.

In seeing our son develop and grow through the years and adapt with his autism and epilepsy we have grown too and we have been through so much but he lives with it and he has struggled at times but I must say that despite the setbacks he has a wonderful way about himself and he can be so very positive and teach us a thing or two. I am truly concerned for my son and I want everything to be ok with him and I want Maria and I to always be by his side and help him to grow and develop and mature. He certainly has provided us with such joy and happiness and we learn from him everyday.

Our son may be autistic but he is a child with a vision and he has hopes and dreams and we are so very proud of him and know in our hearts that he will be ok. We love him and we will always love him and it is him that keeps us strong and focused in our lives. We would do anything for our son to make his life better. He certainly makes our lives better.

Love you and your mommy, my little buddy!

Dedicated to our son Matty who teaches and inspires us everyday.

Edward D. Iannielli III

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