Having an adult son with autism has hard and complicating challenges. My first time hearing Luke’s diagnosis in 1994 made me numb. It did not seem real.
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 .
If you read this, it will change your life…
Luke has a rather severe case of autism. It is coupled with Bipolar. He can rage at a moments notice. If you are in his way, the chances of you getting physically hurt are high.
I had just returned home from a trip to Hawaii ( yes I have a life) when I had my son over for a few nights. While finishing supper with Luke, he was his usual hyper self. What happened next was 5 hours of pure nightmare.
Luke ran upstairs to his room and began hitting the back of his head into the wall. He has made several holes in the drywall, but it had been 5 years. I caught only one bang of his head visually by the time I got to him.
While physically injuring himself, Luke was crying loudly and a hematoma was developing on his cranium. I was able to ice his head, give him meds, and get him in a bath tub to calm down. The pills kicked in, but the crying and other bad behaviors were persistent. Five hours later he was asleep from pure exhaustion. I did not sleep at all that night.
You may wonder why I did not call 911. I want to tell you why. Here is what conversations took place from this incident. It was almost exact to what I had heard a few years ago when I reached out for help. One day I fear I will be unconscious and can not even make these calls. Luke did make me bleed. I am fine though:
1. I called the crisis hotline and left a message. That’s right I got a voicemail.
2. I received a call in 30 minutes from a man who called himself a social worker who triaged the hotline. He said my son would be restrained if anyone came to my home. He put a referral in for me, although I said my son doesn’t need restraining.
3. The referral call came an hour later and she was a social worker too. She stated to me almost verbatim what the first man said. She added one bit of information by saying we have nothing good for adults with autism and our community is 20 years behind .
4. I talked with Luke’s medicine management provider. He stated Luke was more than he could handle and refused to see him in his office the next day if he was aggressive. He said call 911. I believe this is a cop out by providers and lame. I think providers need to see the patients how they can be and not all calm. I worked for 30 years as a nurse. I understand the hazards.
5. I spoke with a RN friend who works as a mental health nurse on the largest psych unit in Seattle . She knows Luke personally and said again to me: “Luke would be restrained. Please try not to bring him or call 911.” She knew my pain and our predicament.
6. I called Luke’s case manager and met with him. Luke is being placed back on a list for a special home. Will there ever be one found ? We have been down this road before and three homes refused to take him.
Rewind : Will society ever do what’s right for folks as Luke?
Luke is better right now, but I wanted all my readers to know we have a crisis in mental health. Again, will we ever get this right? I will not call 911 for my son to be handcuffed.
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.
Nestled in the majestic low hills of the mountainous region of Seattle, my true devotion can be felt in the most purest sense of the word. While we all process through life’s many experiences, my personal belief system has matured in my hometown.
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!!
My son Luke is preparing for his first day of work on his new job. Last week , I was asked by a new site devoted to stories about how the disability autism impacts a family. Feel free to go to this link and read my work published on another site. Elizabeth also has a disabled son living in the Seattle area: