Tag Archives | childhood

A Conversation with a Friend

Jim, I just finished reading “Letting Him Out.” I’m sorry you’ve suffered for decades, protecting that little autistic boy inside you. But I’m glad you’re considering letting him out of that walled prison you’ve kept him in all these years. I like knowing the real you.

Thank you, but I don’t get enough credit for how well I’ve done without him. I’ve accomplished a lot — so much that people don’t recognize the sacrifices I’ve made. They can’t see my deep scars. It is so tiring, still. I’ve had to be strong. I’ve had to protect that little autistic boy.

I wrote a year and a half ago how I wanted to let him out, but I’m afraid he won’t be strong enough to survive. I’m afraid I won’t be strong enough for the both of us.

Which is the greater pain?

Why I Write

Huillo is a lucky boy. Luis is a lucky dad. And I am lucky my words brought them to me. ‪#‎todossomoshuillo‬

Building a bridge to Mexico

 

I don’t typically post videos, nor content from others, but I was moved by a recent email from Luis Vazquez. Luis introduced me to his son Huillo through this video, while telling me he found my infographics helpful. At the time, I replied and posted it to the Living Amongst Humans Facebook page and similarly on Twitter. Today I decided to copy it to the main Living Amongst Humans site.

Coldplay shared the video with their almost 17 million Twitter followers, along with the caption: “This kind of thing makes it all worthwhile.” The Washington Post covered it. Clearly, I am not going to appreciably increase this video’s reach, but it is worthwhile — personally, at least — to capture the event.

Humans can mistake autistic people having difficulty reading or expressing emotions as not having emotions. Let this video put the lie to that.

I Have of Late

derived from <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Shakespeare_Droeshout_1623.jpg">"Shakespeare Droeshout 1623"</a> by Martin Droeshout, used under <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Reuse_of_PD-Art_photographs">Commons:Reuse of PD-Art photographs</a>

A little more than boredom, and less than bard-dom

I started writing here a year ago, unsure of the path it would take. I was exploring what it meant to communicate about autism, and my personal brand of it. Through this web site, with the associated social media it spilled onto, I contacted tens of thousands in a few months. These strangers were overwhelmingly kind. Nearly all the hundreds of comments were a delight to read and respond to. They were invariably on topic, mostly considerate, often thoughtful and generally complimentary.

I’ve learned about humans in these interactions. I’ve learned about myself by writing these pieces. Also, with all due modesty — based on their statements — I’ve enriched others with what I’ve written. For these reasons, and anticipating at least more of the same, I plan to continue. But it has been a while since I’ve added anything new. I feel an explanation is necessary, at least to those who have graced me with their willingness to wait for more.

Making Sense

derived from <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/kermitfrosch/5376271001">"Time Expired"</a> by kermitfrosch/flickr, used under <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">creative commons by 2.0</a>

It was 1971. It was nearly four decades before I knew I was autistic. It was 25 years before soccer moms. It was the year, on one particular day, I discovered magic inside my brain.

I had orchestra rehearsal that day. I played string bass. Both the bass—quite a bit larger than my slight thirteen year old body—and I needed a ride home when practice was over late in the afternoon. We both made our way to the doorway of the school, to wait for my mother to pick us up and drive us two and a half miles in time for one of us to have dinner.

My mother had six children. Keeping up with them, even keeping track of them, was quite a challenge. This time, as was typical, the other orchestra kids had already been picked up. The staff had locked up the school for the day. A cold, rainy evening was settling in. In this age there was no handheld wizardry to occupy me. It was too dark, too wet, to read. So I retreated into the only truly comfortable place I have ever known: my mind.

Letting Him Out

derived from <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-74741107/stock-photo-alone-  man.html">"alone man"</a> by luxorphoto/Shutterstock, used under <a   href="http://www.shutterstock.com/license">Shutterstock Standard License</a>I had a boy nobody knew about: a feeble autistic child. I was barely an adult myself when I put him away. I had no options. And I told no one what I did.

My boy avoided people. He would slip off to the basement, hiding in the narrow space behind the furnace, comforted by solitude and constriction. He barely ate. He rarely spoke. I knew my rail thin, silent child was not made for this world. To protect him — from himself and others — I found a place for him behind thick walls.
He was isolated, but safeguarded. It was the best solution I could come up with.

The years passed while I kept my dark secret. I would lie awake at night, picturing the young boy,

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