Sunday, September 6, 2009

My Son Has Autism...He Isn't Autistic

I have written frequently about my son Adam who has Aspergers Syndrome, a type of Autism. He tells me it is like having a cold, you aren't the cold just as he isn't Aspergers Syndrome and while there is more and more information on the internet about Autism, why is it, we rarely see anything written about older people with Autism?

There is Dr. Temple Grandin who is a professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University, a public speaker and a designer of livestock handling facilities. Dr. Grandin has spoke about her Autism and helped to put into words the way people with Autism are different in a positive way.

There is also Raun Kaufman who I remember a movie in the 1970's about his family and their struggle to get help for him. Raun's parents created the Son Rise Program for parents of children that have Autism. It is truly an amazing climb for this family and how they have reached out to so many to help them.

If it wasn't for the movie about Raun, my husband and I would have never known (years before the doctors would admit it) that our son Adam was Autistic. Adam had all the classic signs and yet, not one therapist or doctor would admit he had Autism.

Adams life as he remembers it was good. But there were years in there that we dealt with his self-medication, self-mutilation and downward spiral of this young man who was always willing to share a smile with you.

At age 3, he wasn't talking, he would rock for hours, he would toss himself on the floor until he hit his head, he didn't sleep, he would run around making strange noises and playing with his fingers and when we enrolled him in pre-school, he stayed away from the other children and wasn't until Adam was 16 years old that someone finally told us what we knew...your son has Austism.

That was when we found Dr. Raun Melmed of the Melmed Center in Scottsdale, Arizona. Dr. Melmed went over years of documentation we had on Adam and the first thing he did was take our son off medication, put him on an exercise regimen, worked with his OCD issues and soon, our son was a different person.

The sad thing about Adam is that with his Aspergers, he thinks everyone who wants to be his friend, is and he has been ripped off by friends, abused and called names by supervisors (thank you TARGET Stores), had his medical records stolen by a supposed girlfriend (but that is a very long story in itself), had his car totalled by a lady driving on a suspended license without insurance, been kicked to the streets and had all his possessions stolen by someone claiming to be his friend and yet..............

He smiles! Adam is married now, has a 6 month old daughter that is the pride of his life and a wonderful wife. Adam lost his job of almost 2 years at Chase Field where he had worked 7 days a week for sometimes over 14 hours a day, all because he gave a bag of cotton candy (that he was just getting ready to toss in the trash) to a co-worker who wanted it.

It wasn't so much that Levy Restaurants fired him, it was the fact they never set up a meeting with him, never asked him about the incident and lied to him repeatedly. Matter of fact, Levy is so bad, they refused to send Adam or allow his wife to pick up his W2 form.

In spite of it all, Adam is still smiling, still trying to do his best and wants to come home. We will leave the light on and pray he and his family can move here soon.

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