I'm a parent of an autistic adult. My son, Nathaniel, was diagnosed around 3 years of age (he's now in his 30's), but as I look over some family movies (see March 30, 2011 post) I can see that he displayed many of the 10 signs of autism well before then.

His mother and I had only one thing in mind. What do we do?? In the early 80's there was little we could find about autism (no internet - what a lifesaver now!). We had his immediate needs to worry about. Was there a cure? Did he require medication? Childhood education had not yet come to mind. But with time, we needed to find out what resources were available around us.

Planning usually comes late for parents with autistic kids. We (well his mother and I) worried about his immediate needs and not the future. When Nathaniel reached 18, life as an adult posed many questions.

I hope that this can be a place where parents with autistic adults and children can communicate with those of us who have dealt with autistic adults. Yes, there are books and magazine articles about what to expect, and legal advice, but I have yet to find a place where experienced parents can share these experiences, give advice, and help parents of young children cope with the future of their child.

Mar 4, 2011

A New Care Provider

Late last month Nathaniel went through one of those harrowing experiences that we have come to dread. He got a new weekend care provider. As parents of autistic children and adults know, change does not come easy. At one point in Nathaniel’s live he “worked” his way through change by twirling his hair until he yanked out some of it, pinched the back of his neck until it bled (he still has the scars to prove it) or simply bit his arm, all apparent coping mechanisms for managing change. So we prepared ourselves. It is somewhat more different when our son is at a distance from us. Of course, being there you feel the pain almost as much as they do. After all, its like watching your child being tortured even though he is the one ding the torturing. But at least you feel like you can help sooth the pain with hugs and kisses (and distractions). At a distance, you are at a loss as to what to do. All you can really do is wait for the phone calls to come. Fortunately Nathaniel went through this change pretty well. As an adult, he has found other coping mechanisms that allay the panic, usually in the form of excessive arm flapping and sweat. Once realizing that he can just go into his own room without interference, he finds his own space, one that is comforting even though we wish we could help in that comfort.