Sometimes the only time I feel at peace is when I see my son sleeping comfortably and soundly. I don’t understand why it seems to be such a challenge to get him to finally go to sleep. I have learned over time and through personal experience that there seems to be a connection between autism and sleep disorder. I am not sure exactly why it seems autistic children are affected by every little thing but this certainly plays a part in the child acting out when it is bedtime. I thought it would get easier over time but it seems that as an autistic child grows they still experience these difficulties and they tend to act out more. I have tried to understand my son’s situation but it is not that easy. I sometimes try to fool myself into believing that if I take a firm approach and try to reason with my son why it is time to go to bed that he will get it and comply with my directives. As I have learned it is not that simple. Although we as parents have to take control and exercise discipline and proper judgement in administering it we also need to understand that autistic children are very different from most children and we have to find a way to cope with these differences.
I have learned to become more tolerable but it has evolved over time and with a great deal of patience and understanding in trying to find a way to handle the outbursts and meltdowns. Sometimes it is not always easy to be composed all of the time and I do find myself yelling on occasion out of sheer frustration. It is in trying to help my son that I need to be extremely patient and supportive. The times I do get upset is when I hear my son say things that he should not. I realize I have to know not to let it get to me but sometimes it does because I want to help my son the best I can and when I hear him say things that are inappropriate and self destructive it does affect me. I believe all children do challenge their parents authority at times and it seems that is part of the growing up process but it should not be the norm.
It is my hope that my son realizes that we are trying to do the right things for him and that we love him very much. I can not tell you how frustrating it can be when you feel like no matter what you do it does not seem to get through to your child. My son is very bright and he understands well but that does not mean he will always comply. It seems autistic children do have difficulties that most children do not have and it is very hard sometimes for them to have smooth transitions. It seems autistic children have to learn to cope with change even though they want no part of it. If I could ease my son’s mind and allay his fears I would but I am not in his mind and I don’t know what he feels. Another problem autistic children have to deal with is the difficulty in expressing themselves and in communicating what they feel.
For every parent raising a child they want to establish ways in forming open lines of communication where the child feels comfortable in opening up and talking. I wish this for my son as well. I need to know that he can talk out what is on his mind and to tell us when he is upset. It is very important to establish trust with your child and allow them to freely express their feelings. Autistic children certainly need to find ways of expressing themselves too and finding ways to channel their energies and bring out their strengths. Autistic children are full of promise and are diamonds in the rough.
As we age it is our hope that our children will be able to make it on their own. It is our responsibility as parents to afford our children the very best education we can to allow them to find opportunity and develop as individuals. We will find inner peace when we realize our children will be able to carry on and live the lives we had anticipated and hoped. We also have to help get them started financially and it is very important to make sure we have adequate life insurance in place for their protection and for our peace of mind. I realize this more than ever as I have learned of the unexpected and untimely death of a good friend who leaves behind a wife and 3 year old daughter. My heart weighs heavy for my friend and his family.
As the summer draws to an end it is our hope that our son will have a smooth transition back to school and will be able to continue on the path to making progress and learning. We rely on the school and the teachers too in helping to shape our son and providing him an education that will help him in his formative years. As parents it is always our hope to bring out the very best in our children and when I say this I speak from the heart because I would lay down my life if I knew it would benefit my son. I want my son to have every opportunity he is entitled to and I want him to be happy and comfortable with himself. We all want to see our children succeed and find true happiness in their life.
I am very fortunate to be blessed with a beautiful wife and son and my hope is that we can be together for as long as we can and that we can share in all our son’s joys and accomplishments. We don’t see him as being different, we just see him as being a wonderful child full of life, promise and hope.
Edward D. Iannielli III