Sunday, October 25, 2015

Autism Speaks Arizona Walk 2015

Our family walked the 5K route this morning for Autism in support of our beautiful, clever grandson Matthew who is truly a miracle! I wrote about him in April on World Autism Awareness Day here, you can read more.
 In the past six months in first grade Matthew has made enormous progress in every aspect of life amazing his teachers, therapists and his family, daily making strides to overcome negative aspects of autism and integrating into a world full of puzzling challenges. We have seen him grow academically, socially, emotionally and in verbal skills, chattering, conversing and making friends where ever he goes, using good manners and trying to do his very best.
 So much of our "normal" lives is foreign to his thinking and a constant struggle to make sense of relationships and what is quite ordinary and simple for us. We are so proud of him and excited to see him bloom and grow in his own unique way, he is truly a blessing from God as his name explains he is "Gift of God".
 Five kilometers is a long way and he was only too happy to ride along in the cart Nanna brought towed by his big strong Uncle Andrew!
 Here we are at the finish, Aunt Lana, Uncle Andrew, Grandfather, Daddy, Yessenia Mum and Nanna Ah Kuoi on the right……...
and in this one Grandnanna [that's me] on the right!
It was a very big weekend for The Boy, yesterday we went to the Tolmachoff Farm in Glendale AZ.
First stop was the Corn Crib, where the children lay in the corn and played in it, you can see by the smile on his face how he liked it.
 He patiently waited in line for a good fifteen minutes in the hot sun, shielded mostly by Grandnanna's Aussie umbrella with SPF sun protection, for his turn to jump on the giant bouncy pillow with Yessenia Mum.
 This was an enjoyable experience even in the heat of an AZ. Fall day.
 Another long wait [and not one word of complaint from our boy] to visit the goats in the petting zoo.
 I explained that the big fat white goat was lying down resting because she is expecting triplets, three baby goats, Matthew seemed rather awed!
 There were many expectant goats with very fat tummies and this little one got some extra love for her baby as Matthew gently petted her belly!
He is very interested in science, what makes things work,
and this fascinated him as he tried to figure out how a skeleton could be playing the banjo!
 One look at his face will tell you how weary he was as we prepared to pay for the pumpkins and leave.
He was very happy to get into the Grandfather's air-conditioned truck and rather quickly fell asleep.

Recently in my constant search for more information I have been reading three books I would recommend for anyone seeking to understand more about the puzzle that is autism.
The first is "Emergence", Dr.Temple Grandin's story of her childhood and how she thought, why she acted as she did and how very difficult it was for her to understand the world she lives in.
The next is  "An Anthropologist On Mars" by Oliver Saks, the final chapter is about Dr.Grandin and the book title is a quote from her on the way she sometimes feels.
The third book "Uniquely Human" I am only halfway through but have already learned much from Dr. Barry Prizant who wrote it. Dr. Temple Grandin has said of the book "I love his approach" and I too find much to recommend it. He sees autism not so much as a disorder but a different way of being human and his explanations for this approach make a great deal of sense.

I hope that my humble attempts to highlight autism and the amazing people who have this unique expression of humanity will help to spread the word of their struggles to reach a full life and perhaps encourage others to educate themselves and reach out to help autistics in their lives in every way possible.
I can never explain how blessed we are to have Matthew in our lives, how much he adds to our life experience and the great joy he brings.


Anonymous said...

What an amazing family support. I have passed your book information to a family that deals with an autistic child. He just started music lessons (piano)and is excited and is learning at a phenomenal speed. Thanks, Dotti.

Andee said...

This makes me smile!