Over 15 years ago, a group of highly qualified experts sat me in a
room and gave me the news that my son, Anthony, was autistic. However, that was just the beginning of the labels, soon to be followed by PDD, SPD, Asperger’s and on and on. In fact, it sounded like enough letters following a name, to put on a certificate of PhD in the area of study called “your life will be difficult.” You are not like the “normal people”; thank God, he is not, but that is a whole other blog post. I wonder what “normal” is anyway!
When that news unceremoniously kicked my idea of “healthy, bouncing baby boy” to the curb, I had a choice to make, a few actually.
Do I start speaking “autistic” to him, as if it were a language of some sort? Do I believe what the experts said? Do I receive the images in the “Rain Man” movie as a portent of what will play on the screen of his life? I am not here to judge, nor to tell you that the choices I made are the right ones for you, each diagnosis, each person is different.
I can, however, tell you this with the utmost confidence, faith is universal and bilateral. Faith is an equal opportunity employer or destroyer. It does not discriminate, no matter what your challenges are, special needs, career, etc… Once you engage it with your constant words, beliefs, and daily patterns, it will go to work to bring those things to pass. But, it is a double-edged sword. Feed it a steady diet of: “this is not fair, why me God, we will never make it, you are different, you are not like ‘those’ kids, what did I do to deserve this, this is too hard, you don’t understand what I am going through,” and your faith will produce results in line with what you feed it, because you are putting action to it.
Faith is not a magic wand, it is a decision to either go through; or cave in. It is a decision followed by action to stand your ground when you are climbing uphill with societal “special needs” dogma raining artillery on you and your son, or loved one. Even positive faith does not make everything “ok,” but it does change you and the way people around you perceive you. If you act desperate, you will attract people who will treat YOU as the special needs person. They will do something that can be very damaging which I call “caterism,” when what you need are stimulators, those who can help propel you uphill. I’d like to remind you here, that this faith discussion is not limited to dealing with a special needs person, this is a whole-life principle. Wounded or broken limbs do need to be cared for and catered to for a while, but then they need to move and be challenged in order to strengthen, heal and become useful again.
What has already happened, no matter how much you decry or deny it, cannot change. However, you do have a significant say in the message you send your special needs person and how you mold them going forward.
Am I being idealistic? Check the long list of the idealists who changed our world. If that is the worst thing I will ever be called, I’ll take it!
I will close with this and you can draw the conclusion that is right for you. I hope at the very least it inspires you and sparks a glimmer of hope, or even better; a redirection away from negative faith.
When a boy of 6 cannot hold a pencil properly and cannot print his name, it is “impossible” that he will become an artist.
When he cannot “think” as others do, it is “impossible” for him to create dozens of characters, all with personalities, different genealogies, weaknesses, emotions, loyalties and strengths. “Impossible” for him to develop plot lines and communicate detailed scripts.
When he cannot speak properly and stammers, searching for words, and they are all like jumbled up Scrabble dice dancing inside his mind, waiting for the right dice, the right letter to drop into his language process; like a ball dropping for a lottery number in order to get the right words out – it is “IMPOSSIBLE” that person will ever communicate effectively at all, much less, well enough to inspire people..
until they do.
I fed all of those “impossibles” to my faith, as a master might feed a servant in earlier days, and it went to work. Faith is the assassin of doubt.
It is my son, the kid who could not hold a pencil who has won awards for his creation; The Artistic Guardian.
It is my son, the one with the “laboured thought process who will have a hard time,” who created all of the personalities in a storyline that embodies inclusion and acceptance for all races and abilities.
And finally, perhaps most poignantly; it is my son and his father, who will be speaking to hundreds of educators at a major upcoming conference in a few weeks.
Faith is starving, waiting to spring into action for you! Feed it the impossible and watch it go to work. It thrives on impossible, like a bodybuilder needs protein.
Please visit my son’s site at TheArtisticGuardian.com to see some of what faith devoured and produced. There you will also find some brief videos of Anthony aka “Antonio” speaking to a small group of supporters last year.
We are continuing his Dream Fundraising here: gofundme.com/artisticguardian
I welcome your emails and thank you for reading.
My son, Antonio, the one they said: “never would.”