As a concerned father it is only natural that I want things to be perfect for my son. Sometimes as parents we come to the reality that our child will have struggles and it can be heartbreaking to have to come to terms with that. Raising an autistic child requires a great deal of patience, understanding, encouragement, support and an enduring love that will last forever. I have a sincere hope that my son will have a wonderful life filled with joy, happiness, friendship, love, ambition, success, courage, pride, accomplishment and vision. Our children are an extension of us and we always want what is best for them. We may not always know what that maybe but if we work hard in championing our efforts and seek the needed advice, counsel, support, therapies, schools and dedicated professionals that will help us in our mission in helping our child we will start the process in bridging the gap between our autistic child and the world they live in.
It all starts at home with the nurturing that only a loving parent can provide to their adoring child and a commitment that is unwavering and with firm resolve. Love is special and the love of parent and child is unconditional by nature and the most special bond we can ever have. Sometimes I cry because I just don’t seem to know all I possibly can to help my son and when I see him struggling with his behavior and unable to fit in I really find myself at a loss when it seems that everything my wife and I try are just hopeful attempts in helping our son to get on the right track with school, with understanding the consequences of his actions, with his behavior and with his ability to find meaningful friendships. I am not easily discouraged but raising an autistic child can cause emotional upset and a feeling of hopelessness sometimes.
Everything we do for the benefit of our children is with sincerity and with love. I speak from the heart when I say this because from the day our son was born I pledged to myself, my wife, our son and to God that I would do all I could for him and we would never lose sight of that no matter what. I mean no matter what so for our son who has had quite a bit of challenges with his conditions of epilepsy, autism, adhd and bi-polar disorder it can be said that the days do not come easy for him or for us as his loving parents but we stay together focused in helping our son to have better days ahead and a hope that will be eternal that he too can have a life filled with many expectations and opportunities as we work together to bridge the gaps along the way for him.
As much as I need to be with my wife and son at these times and to be strong emotionally and focused sometimes I need my space to be alone with my thoughts and have my own private time. It may seem selfish but I have to have perspective from outside of the situation and sometimes I need to feel detached from it so I can be somewhat more objective. I am too often an emotional person and I can be read very easily and it is not uncommon for people to pick that up with me as I am always worrying for my son and I feel I need to distance myself at times so I can be stronger and help my son more effectively. It is a daily toll when it seems that all our efforts sometimes don’t measure to what our hopes and expectations are for our son.
I learned early on that we will not have perfection in our life and we must adapt and accept ourselves, imperfections and all. We must always remember that we are never guaranteed anything and we have to be grateful for every day and make the most of it. Life is never always certain so it is with this reality that I take one day at a time and I try to teach my son this also. We don’t try to do everything at once. We take it step by step so we don’t feel overwhelmed and we try to find the good in everything because that is always the best way to see things. I always learned that from my parents and I know this is what I need to teach to our son.
As parents of an autistic child we rely on so many people to help us in helping our son and it is always our hope that all we do will someday make a difference and help bridge the gap for him towards having a happy and meaningful life. That is our hope and our dream for our son.
Edward D. Iannielli III