Friday, July 26, 2013


Nine years ago my son David was evaluated and diagnosed with autism.  The diagnosis was pretty depressing, given by an impersonal ‘expert’ who painted a dismal picture of a child who would most likely not amount to much. I was sobbing as my husband and I walked out of her office. 

I began reading all I could about autism and strategies for coping with this disorder.  David was to start pre-school in a few months and was put in a Meeting Street program for some speech therapy.   At 4, he was making some sounds, but not really speaking.  Once words became part of David’s vocabulary, he would only use them to echo. 

Me, “David, do you want to eat?”
David,  “Want to eat?”

Me, “David, do you want to go outside?”
David, “Go outside.”

Tonight on the Nightly News there was a story about a 4 year old boy named Greyson who didn’t speak to his mom until a weekly garbage truck came by.  Something about the truck connected with him and he told Chrissy, his mom, “I want truck”.  And the tears came, because I was transported back to a time of despair and the frustration of not being able to communicate with my own child, feeling sorry for myself and asking why him and why me.  When Greyson said to Chrissy, “I want truck”, it reminded me of the joy I felt the day I asked David, “Do you want to watch Rudolph” (the red-nosed reindeer) and he said “Yes”.  It still makes me tear up thinking about it.  Baby steps that mean nothing to most, were huge leaps to us. 

I have spent hours tonight reading Chrissy’s blog. Here is the link: Life With Greyson.  Her post about practicing happy especially resonated with me as well as a quote she referenced from Roger Ebert in one of her other posts,

"I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out."

Well Roger, I’m trying.  Some days it’s harder than others, but I’m trying.

Since David’s original diagnosis, our younger son Michael was likewise diagnosed with autism and given pretty much the same dismal prognosis for the future.  But happily over the past eight years, we have been fortunate to have wonderful teachers and a phenomenal tutor that works with them.  David is now at the top of his class, even helping other students when they need a hand.  Michael is likewise doing well in school but needs more help and additional guidance with some social skills.  As an older parent, I worry about what will happen to them when my husband and I are gone.  I try not to dwell too much on that issue, but instead focus on the progress of their journey to the wonderful, bright young men they are becoming.  


  1. Great post, Judi, and what handsome boys you have! You must be so proud of them, and the progress you have all made together. Wishing you and yours the best as time clicks away.

    1. It has been challenging at times to say the least, but so rewarding as well. I am so proud of my sons. We still have hurdles to overcome, but we take one day at a time and keep working with them. This year should be interesting as David will be starting middle school! Thank you for your well wishes and for your comment!

  2. I'm very happy for you and I'm glad your boys are doing so well. You've taken a very difficult challenge and turned it into a positive. It's hard to understand but I've always believed there's a certain reason why things happen. Some things are just meant to be.

    1. You're right of course Dan. I believe things happen for a reason as well, although sometimes it can be hard to stomach. Thank you for your kind words, David & Mikey really are doing well. We still have issues to work through, but we go one day at a time.