You ever wonder what the most touching blog posts are written about especially those that always bring back your audience for more? By having a blog and developing a number of readers over the years who have in many instances stayed in touch with me through email, Instagram, or Facebook , I have found that my platform strategy in writing is utilizing my personal life experiences. For example, I have worked over the years to deliver topics around my son Luke who has autism and the many struggles that have followed us through various experiences.
My autistic son Luke was discharged recently after a month in a Washington State King County Evaluation and Treatment Center. My understanding is these treatment centers are partially funded by the State of Washington. They do short-stay commitments for clients who present with severe mental illness. Luke has now returned to voluntary placement, although with extreme changes that include living in a hotel!
Happy Birthday to the best guy ever. Autism does not define you my son. What I see in you is amazing love that others can not even come close to realizing in their own lives. You have no understanding of lusting for money or materialism. You may live in a world made of your own design, but it is better in many ways to the cruel world the rest of us live in.
I hope and pray for you and want what is always best for you. You have family all over the country and they have missed out on getting to know you. I am grateful to the family you have in your friends.
You are 24 years old. You have a dad and mom who will love you for as long as we are here on earth with you . I know you love God and He will always have you until you meet Him in person .
Can we talk about autism? Or better yet the impact of autism on an individual? My son Luke is now an adult. His disability affects him in many ways.
While on a fun trip downtown to Seattle, Luke always enjoys the sights and sounds surrounding him. As his mom, I can notice when he feels overwhelmed. It is in those times we have to slow him down.
At home he will lay around, but it is not his usual. Luke likes pacing. I am sure this is genetic! His dad and brother do the same! If we do not put the pause button on Luke, however, his brain will go into overdrive. This causes him extreme stress. As family we notice this. Others will not recognize the symptoms as easily.
Can we talk about that strength of Luke’s? I swear you would think he was the Incredible Hulk. He has broken so many things when he is upset. I decided long ago pretty things in my home weren’t important any longer !
Can you talk now and tell me – are you able to let go and not get upset if you lose every material possession you find precious to you ? I learned long ago I could.
My son made me smile looking at things a little different! The little mermaid float came by at Seattle’s Macy Parade. Got to love that smile!!
The church we attended at the time was meeting in an old building. My husband got Luke from Sunday School and I went to get our baby.
At some point, Luke wandered off and we went on a wild goose chase looking for him. I was panicked to say the least.
Everyone was leaving the church , except for a few concerned parishioners. It was the craziest feeling not knowing where our son disappeared to.
The church had an old attic that was used for sound checks. It was accessed by a pull out ladder. At some point it was shut, but we kept running around yelling, “Luke! Where are you?”It just did not make sense.
All of a sudden, I could hear a distant whimper. To say the least a mother knows her child’s sounds. I scurried to have someone open the drop down ladder and low and behold there was our sweet Luke sitting in the dark.
I had not thought of this event for quite some time until I was told recently of the little autistic boy who lost his life after wandering off from his family in PA. These stories are hard to fathom, and even more to swallow. Yet, we have to. We have to remember how vulnerable our cognitively challenged society can be especially our children. Searching for someone missing is a feeling I would not wish on anyone. Anytime a person vanishes-tragedy can be right around the corner.
I hope this story shows how easy life can change in a heartbeat. In this case, it was a quiet sound of a whimper from my precious son. It was just enough to help this mom find her beautiful little boy stuck in a dark, damp attic. My heart still pounds pondering this event.
Luke was held by me for many years until he learned to walk.
Sitting down next to my son, I gathered the rocks he was moving from one pile to another. Luke has always loved putting things in order. If it was not the rocks in one place all together, he was busily in the home putting all the chairs around the dining room table in perfect order. Pushing as hard as he could at times, he was bound and determined those chairs had to be just right.
“Luke, are you there?”
Moving to the computer room, Luke noticed the closet doors were not shut completely. From the corner of my eye, I watched Luke push the door shut until it was closed to his satisfaction. He pushed his body on the door and felt it to make sure it was exactly how his mind thought it needed to be. He was happy then.
“Luke, are you there?”
Luke looked up this time and he started coming rather rapidly toward my direction. He pressed his face and especially his nose into my hair. He took a deep sniff and inhales my aromas. These sniffs were not one or two times, but rather several until I said, “Luke, I know you are there and you can stop smelling my hair now.” He did.
“Thank you Luke.”
Luke does not seem to remember, but I remind him every time when he pushes too hard on my face or head that he is hurting mama. It takes a lot of reminders. I mean A LOT!!
In bringing these examples of some of Luke’s unusual autistic behaviors, I fail to describe too much of the damage that some of these strange motor movements can do to inanimate objects until he starting hurting me. It is because I want to make it clear that I want to see Luke showing me something HE CAN DO. It may not look pretty. In fact, a chair or table may get scratched up, and a closet door may get broken over and over as Luke believes he can fix it. That does not matter to me. As his mom, I am interested in seeing Luke just do. It is not being afraid to let go and bring a CAN DO spirit in my son. Autism does a lot to our children afflicted with this devastating neurological calamity, but we CAN DO a lot to show how proud we are of them even in the midst of quite possibly not understanding for ourselves what the behavior really means for the autistic mind.
“Thank you Luke for fixing my door and putting the chairs so nicely under the table. Mama is so proud of you. I love what you can do Luke. You are my best guy ever! You gorgeous boy.”
“Mama, Luke is your best guy ever and gorgeous.”
Did you know the bigger your head is the smarter you are? Perhaps you have heard that the more bumps you have on your skull means your IQ is flying off the charts? These were the ridiculous questions once pondered by those who studied the science of the brain. We have come so far is really an understatement. In fact it is clear our century is bringing new brain research to a whole new level.
This research does not come cheap. There are many places we can donate our money including Michael J. Fox’s Foundation or the Autism Society of America. As a brain tumor survivor and a mother of a son with autism, I am keenly aware of the essential need to cure brain diseases . It has been noted recently that one out of every six people is affected by brain disorders. The diseases of the brain touch us all which can include Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Addiction and Strokes.
What would a cure mean for me? It would mean the world! I know one man in my neck of the woods who has done a tremendous amount of research on the brain. His is Paul Allen. I would highly recommend you checking out his site: http://www.alleninstitute.org/ .
I know many of us do not have the money to send off for research, but have you ever thought about donating your time or even yourself to be researched? I wanted to highlight this because if you are one of those affected by any of these medical problems, I would encourage you to participate in any research study you can. Our family has made it a practice to be involved with the research community in hope for a cure. We have done this as a family and it has been extremely gratifying. Our son Luke has been in at least 10 studies. I almost think I could call him a professional at it.
The mystery of the brain is amazing, but as I studied the brain’s general functions when I developed a large brain tumor-it made me aware of why I was having the problems I had encountered over a period of years before my tumor was diagnosed. My tumor was so large that it shifted the contents of my brain to one side. It sat on top of the motor cortex specifically the movement area of my brain that squeezed the vision, behavior, hearing and coordination centers. Here is a fascinating photo I give credit to TIME magazine that gives you a layman’s look at what part of the brain does what: