There are several fears to conquer when you first discover your child has Autism. Fear of the future for your child...Fear of judgement from others...Fear of failure in finding approaches that help...Fear of solitude in the fight. The list could go on and on. Of all these fears and the many I could mention, surprisingly I suffered from very few and only for a short period of time. I was blessed. I think God somehow placed my mind on the fast track as far as recognizing that something wasn't working for Jo and accepting that "something" was called Autism. For me it was a matter of getting to work as quickly as possible. I didn't go out and buy books by parents of kids with Autism...I only bought books about treatment techniques. Ironically, I never read blogs by parents of kids with Autism...I only read publications by doctors on relevant research data. I think I wiggled out of more conversations than I can think of as friends, family or total strangers began to relay stories that usually began with, "You know, I have a _______ who has a ________ with Autism and they said...."
Now, at first I chalked this up to my general aversion to anyone pluckier or more chipper than myself! I mean, seriously. How much June Cleaver can co-exist in one room before imploding into a black hole of rainbows and body glitter? But with Jo's recent venture into the land of the typical, and the demands that must be met in order to equip him for his quest, I have discovered that there was a much deeper reason behind my irrational behavior. Fear of Hope.
~The technical term for a person with Autism who blends in almost seamlessly with the general public is called "Recovery". It has taken me 2 and 1/2 years to actually allow that word to come out of my mouth in reference to my son. Sure for other kids it is a goal. But for me? Yeah...I would prefer to leave room for disappointment. After all, anything can happen, right? Why set your sights on a goal that may not be meant for you? Right?....right?
Resolved: I hold these truths to be self-evident- Spectrum of Hope is not an accidental title to this blog. It isn't a clever play on the words that comprise conversations about Autism. It is the fine line I walk everyday when looking at my son and praying for the stamina to give him the best. Praying that his mind is truly a diamond trapped inside a large chunk of coal. Just as Autism is on a spectrum, so is Hope. You can have a little or a lot in a few or many places at any given time. And sometimes it takes a bit longer to truly develop it. One must be fearless in order to have Hope. One must be audacious....I would go as far as to say that Mr. Obama doesn't know ANYTHING about the Audacity of Hope until he has seen a bell curve graph charting his child as a few points away from mentally retarded and listened to a physician describe how to build a lockable screen door to hold your child in a room. Yeah....Hope on that! My point is that you haven't truly conquered Autism until you can Hope. Hope for the amazing and the improbable....even the impossible. When you can actually tell people that you are Hoping for full recovery AND actively work toward that goal, then you are moving further up the Spectrum of Hope. When you move up that spectrum, life becomes worth living! The world is full of purpose and fulfilment. There is joy in the midst of the struggle. Not just with your child, but in everything you do. Wait...maybe the goal isn't recovery.....maybe the goal is Hope.