Friday, July 27, 2007
The Most Difficult Autism Questions
At the end of the day all the furious debates are of little weight. Cause, awareness, treatment - all the heated arguments fizzle away. The banter of the irrelevant academics who busily devise tests to "prove" that autistic persons actually have superior intelligence and the annoying posturing by some neurodiversity advocates who claim to know better than parents what is necessary to help our autistic children are all flushed away.
Endless debates about the politically correct way to describe autistic persons, whether we should even publicly mention intellectually challenged autistic people like my son Conor. The hand wringing over such burning issues as whether it is appropriate to describe genetic mutations as "accidents". For this parent of a severely autistic child these arguments appear to be nothing more than empty noise.
Even the incredible joy that Conor brings into our lives each day, the smile that lights up anyone who sees it, the exuberance that propels him skyward as he runs, jumps and flies down the walking trail with Dad struggling to keep up; all give way to the most difficult autism questions.
Where and how will Conor live when we, his parents, are gone. Will he enjoy his favorite things? Will he be able to stim with straws and water filled balloons? Will he have access to computers to watch Pinky Dinky Doo, Pontoffel Pock and the Hoober Gloob Highway?
Will anyone truly care about him? Will Conor be happy when we are gone?
For Conor's Dad, these are the most difficult autism questions; questions for which I have no answers.