a mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts.
I am blessed to spend my life working with these courageous kids at the middle school level. It is a challenge to find ways to smooth out the challenges they face and provide them with strategies to become more independent, normal feeling as they explore the brilliance of their lives and talents.
Lately, it has occurred to me that Autism or the characteristics of Autism doesn't always occur in early childhood. My life and personality have changed since losing my precious 24 year old son, Ryan, to suicide 4 years ago. It feels like I am incapable of the life and relationships I had before. Everything seems measured by before and after we lost Ry.
~ I loved being around people.
~I initiated social gatherings.
~I was involved in Young Life ministry.
~I didn't crave my bed and being alone.
~I avoid being around people.
~I have a hard time going to gatherings with a lot of people.
~I crave being alone and spend way to much time in my bed.
Every year I am amazed at the courage of my ASD students as they bravely face life that is so hard to face at times. They give me strength to venture out, even when I want to run the other way. Their challenges are not visible physically but are so real. Grieve is the same. Others look at each of us and think we should be fine and wonder at our behaviors. The desire to be normal, fearless, and social is there for people with ASD and for those grieving.
The good news is, I see hope and progress in my middle schoolers all the time. This gives me hope that my personality will keep evolving as well.