Reflections on Being different, Autism and Life

We all have times in our life where we must have quiet introspection. It is very important that we understand and learn how we are influenced and affected by things happening in our lives. As young children we may find that we may feel different and that we are alone most of the time. We may not wish to change our ways but we have to understand what it is that is causing us to feel the way we do. We may never really know what it is that causes us to feel different but we must learn to adapt and find ways to deal with our situation. We may feel we are alone and have no one to talk to about it. This makes it very hard because we then find we must suppress what we are trying with our heart and soul to understand. I remember as a child not truly understanding what was going on in my life and harboring a secret that I could not talk about. I denied and repressed all throughout my childhood and my adult life but it never goes away and the feelings we have as small children tend to remain with us even when we grow into adulthood. We just need to find acceptance and try to understand that we are ok and there should never be any shame associated with our feelings. We sometimes can not help what it is that we are feeling. It is just an inherent part of who we are. If we can come to terms with it then we will find self acceptance and will be able to find our way. We also need to have approval and acceptance from our family and friends and this is not always so easy. We can open up and discuss it and hopefully find a sympathetic ear. We all want to be loved and accepted for who we are.

I as a father know what it is like to feel empathy and concern. I have a deep desire to help my son who struggles with his autism and it breaks my heart to see my son struggle. I am a very caring and compassionate person and I would do anything to help my son. He is my life and he means the world to me. My life is so much more complete because of my son.

I also have a desire to make things right for him in every way I can but I am no expert and I am just a father who sometimes feels helpless in what is best for our son. My wife sometimes is stronger in her ability to maintain calmness and keep things together where I am sometimes more emotional and expressive of my feelings. I need to be this way because I can not keep things bottled up inside. I have done that all throughout my life dealing with my own issues. I am not perfect but I am a very loving and caring father and I would never do anything to hurt my son or my family. I just sometimes have a hard time knowing what is the best thing to do to help our son. I have cried many times when I see my son have difficulty and get so frustrated that he feels he has no chance of fitting in. I want my son to always feel confident and believe in himself. He is a remarkable kid and I know that. I just wish he would realize that.

I was very shy too growing up so I know what my son is going through and he is now at a difficult age so I feel for him. I want him to come to me and talk and express what is going on in his life. I don’t want him to feel alone. I want him to know that his mom and dad are there for him and will do our very best to help and advise him. I am so very proud of him in so many ways and when I see him smiling and happy I am happy too. I live to see my son happy and I want what is best for him. I realize life is not always perfect and we have to deal with things in our life. I know I too have things I deal with and need to reach out to others when I can not do it alone. I want my son to realize he too needs to recognize when he needs help and guidance and he should never feel afraid to ask for it. I will always make it my priority to be there for him and I recognize his needs and I want him to feel comfortable talking with me about anything and everything.

One of the main things we should always maintain with our family is complete honesty and a sense of hope and faith. We must teach this and never let our children feel alone. We do sometimes feel alone growing up which is normal but we must try to help find a healthy balance where we can overcome the obstacles we face and break down the barriers that hold us back. We only get one life so we want to make the most of it and we want most of all to find happiness and acceptance. We all need that in our life and it is what makes us thrive and become the best we can.

I was so very proud of my son today when he steped onto the baseball diamond today in his first ever little league baseball game. He is 13 and is in a special league for kids with disabilities and other emotional isses. It warmed my heart when I saw all these kids participating. My son was paired off with a buddy also to help him learn some of the fundamentals. It was an incredible day and I am so grateful to all the coaches, the buddies and all the kids who all deserve to be there. They have just as much a right to enjoy the game and play and participate. I was so proud of my son and I feel happy that he was able to experience this. I am looking forward to the next game and I feel he will benefit by the experience and he will learn the game and have some fun. We are very grateful for the league and thank all those responsible who dedicate their time and efforts in helping these wonderful kids. I had tears in my eyes at times watching some of these kids who have incredible challenges and were there playing. It was a very emotional day and I am glad I got to share it with my son.

After all this is what we live for. We want our children to find something they like and we want them to be happy. I am not sure if baseball will always be my son’s area of interest but we have to try and if he can learn and have fun and make a friend or two then it is all worth it.

Edward D. Iannielli III

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