A Reflection on Autism: The Furgotten Ones
To substantiate anything I say in this, one must understand that I am writing from a place of a Father, a man, a disabled individual, a Christian, a failure, a dropout; not perfect.
We live in a society that is afraid. Afraid to show feelings, compassion, and love; true unprocessed love. I watch the news only to adjust my heart every morning to not feel, not worry, not to show kindness to others; a direct effect of seeing mass amounts of children either being killed, kidnapped, or just forgotten about.
Each morning, parents of autistic children across the world wake up, some as early as 2 a.m. to complete routine tasks that those take for granted any other second. These are the “furgotten ones;” The use of “u” instead of “o” is a salutation to those with autism.
I just heard on the news the other day that to help those children who are severely autistic on the spectrum, “experts” say that Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) should be used. But why? Are we not giving enough money to pharmaceutical companies for everyday remedies? Now with the “acceptance” of weed and the oils derived from it in society, the desperation for parents to just experience their child in the splendor that they know is within him/her is tainted.
We as autism parents already find it hard enough with endless research into chemicals found in everyday food, drink, and beauty products. The moment you read that last line, there is a boy or girl in this world who is non-verbal and often makes noises that would cause a halt in your steps. But, this is an expression of happiness.
There are others severely diagnosed who cannot speak to you, so they hug you, kiss you, and smile. Somewhere in this world, an autistic child is about to end their life by gravitating to the calmest thing in the world to them—water. Unfortunately, our children frequently drown or are struck by trains or cars because of a lack of fear. I’m scared. We often strive to be fearless in life; exploiting “battle scars” and pictures of death-defying excursions. We try, while these individuals are for whom we strive. Funny these are the Furgotten Ones.
To the countless Mothers and Fathers that post online that they “can’t do this anymore” or “I give up!” we often make up for the incompetence of today’s politicians, president, and other worldly powers by giving them hope that last as long as we’re signed online. But at the end of the day, the emptiness awaits them, once we are gone.
But just a few months ago, we were close to a deeper understanding of autism. A deeper understanding of our children, but this has been replaced by scandal, and a wall, to name a few. Where did the research go? Why has it not been a topic in any election campaign? Are we not understanding that our children might not be able to reproduce; Does our civilization thrive? But I get it; that my visualization for the future may be a little tainted because of my son.
Maybe I do not see that the bigger picture of “life” is the cascading thought that our future depends on the here and now. Maybe I am dreaming that somebody in Washington D.C. will wake up tomorrow morning with proposing a bill to fund the eradication of autism, while also pushing for a wall that serves as a deterrent as much as a knife in a gunfight.
One undoubtedly questions the reason for this to happen to their child(ren). Is God to blame? I mean realistically we question his existence every day. Nothing tangible can possess this much power, respect, let alone my surrender; The purest, most loving man ever to walk on Earth cannot be seen, touch, or heard? But Cancer, Diabetes, genocide, and murder can. Arguably, many fear what they don’t see—I don’t. Before my personal walk with my savior Jesus Christ, I thought life was like “apples and oranges.”
What I learned and leaned on more and more was instead of having more and more countless nights of no rest, crying while looking at my son Shayne sleep quietly next to me, frustration about me having an autistic son, and release of that frustration on things like women, alcohol, and even the gym, I had to realize that this was my gift. I could have done more to save the relationship I had with his Mother, instead of being a boy, angry and blaming the world for Shayne’s diagnosis; religion is important. I urge you to seek God. It will give you strength.
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Shayne has a Mother who has sacrificed everything for our son, and I am grateful for this. It has motivated me to be a driving force for other men. But as I pursue this goal, relationships seem to be harder and harder to initiate. It could well be my character; over protecting everything in my life because of my heart, and sometimes I honestly think it’s because of my son. People often fear what they don’t know about or see on a broad scale.
You would think that with my son getting older and more receptive to academics and cognitive skills, this would make me fulfilled. My battle every day is to tell myself, “Shayne will be okay,” while I anxiously flutter my breathing with “The world can be cold.” As young kids, we are told about the picket fence, beautiful family, dog, nice job; happily, ever after. Selfish to say more and more, one of the main driving forces of me wanting a family so bad, is so when I’m gone, Shayne will have the siblings and two strong women to guide him.
We hold the thought that our child is the best in the world while thinking simultaneously about his/her future and well-being. Days and nights pass, holding no regrets while cynicism maintains order over our cries for fairness. Darkness subsides over our hearts, but yet the smiles of our children day in and day out removes the tears so frequent dried up by our ego and courage.
The Furgotten Ones, are Fathers and Mothers like myself who mentally write every day in their journals about our children, celebrating the achievements, and the goals met both on paper and in our hearts.
The Furgotten Ones are the new cases that are emerging every day; New parents who have a inclination that their child may be on the spectrum, but are too embarrassed. We are the Furgotten Ones….
I offer nothing but prayers for the parents that are dealing with autism. Blessings to those kids who live every day with this. In no way am I saying that this is more important that children fighting other diseases such as cancer, AIDS, or multiple sclerosis, as I’m praying for them too. What I am saying is that we as a community must defend our children in all aspects in an “All or nothing world.” These are my thoughts, my opinions, my pain. We are the Furgotten Ones….
This article was featured in Issue 93 – ASD Advice for Today and Tomorrow