So Far I have managed to stay away from controversy and I have not yet been besieged by blistering commentary but I feel that those days have ended and maybe for good reason.
When Daniel was diagnosed autistic in 1998 at the age of 2-1/2 years old he would have been considered moderate to higher functioning on the autism spectrum. With the diagnoses being widened in recent years he is considered moderate to severe only because of the increase in higher functioning individuals being diagnosed.
What I fear in the wider reaching criteria is that those on the low end of the spectrum are being forgotten. Kind of like a sub-set of individuals who have become invisible to the media and thus the general population because their condition is not accompanied with extraordinary savant ability or a heart warming story of triumph.
I personally know a lovely woman named Linda who’s son Luke is in that category. He is 12 years old, non-verbal, self-injurious and not toilet trained. There are days at school he descends the steps to greet his mom completely red faced from the repeated blows he inflicts upon himself or tears streaming down his face for what will be another guessing game for his mother of “why” and/or “what” is bothering Luke today?”. Linda has spent entire weeks without sleep when Luke was having an especially hard time and as worn out as she is, she continues to drop her son off at school after driving in traffic for 20 miles and she picks him up at the end of the day because the bus ride would be too daunting for her lovely son.
I know we all have our struggles and personal difficulties in trying to get through each day and in our moments of adversity we are not likely to think of someone like Luke or Linda, but maybe in our quieter moments when we see our son or daughter playing appropriately with a peer or we hear the sweet sound of our child’s voice, we may pause and send a prayer up for Luke and Linda and those like them who hope against all odds that they too may some day experience such joy.