My autistic son Luke never ceases to amaze me. This fun photo of him sitting in his favorite rocking chair creates a look as if he does not have a care in the world.
I often think about the impact autism has on our medical and governmental communities including, but not limited to social workers, physical therapists, special ed teachers, speciality physicians , behavior therapists, and social security experts. As I focus on the twenty six years I have vested in my gorgeous son and his journey, I vastly underestimated how much would go into all that we have aspired for Luke. Looking back, it is hard to think about all those years, but know this it was an honor for me as Luke’s mom to give him my best and find all the resources I did.
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!
The irony of my title is fascinating on several levels. It reminds me perhaps most of having a sense of control. With a head’s up on a situation that needs a thoughtful answer, I can usually work on a responsible solution. When my autistic son Luke was hospitalized , I was out-of-state and felt out of control of the circumstances. Fortunately I do not have a learned helplessness mentality. My fighting spirit keeps me positive and the idea of developing a problem-solving strategy to deal with life’s difficulties is no stranger to me.
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: