You know this one is very close to my heart…

Today is World Autism Awareness Day– please check out the various information and scheduled events. And share with those who may be overwhelmed and in search of information and hope.

More below…Our daughter was first diagnosed almost 8 years ago with “autism/ PPD-NOS”. And my mind just blanked, as I had no idea what autism was. Eventually we learned, as different agencies helped us navigate a complicated regimen of therapies: behavioral, occupational, physical, speech and others.

What we didn’t know what how widespread autism is.

Nationwide, it is estimated that autism occurs in 1 out of 150 children. That puts a very heavy financial burden on a community.

But in Maine, it’s a devastating situation as the rate is staggering: 1 in 87.

Living with autism certainly presents a family with unusual circumstances. It is a spectral disorder and no 2 families’ experiences are the same, despite similarities. But a diagnosis of autism is nothing to fear.

As a wonderful nurse, herself the mother of an autistic teen once shared with me a beautiful story of changing plans and acceptance.

It still makes me cry, but in a happy way:

Welcome To Holland

by

Emily Perl Kingsley

c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley.

All rights reserved.

“Matthew and … I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.”

 

Louise1

Louise1

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