Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Two Weeks With Autism

I never saw a prettier child. I say child although she is almost 16. She is my niece, my God child, my sister's beloved child, and she has Autism. My DH and I just spent two weeks with my sister and her two children. One is autistic and one has ADHD. My sister has her hands full, and what I planned as a vacation turned out to be an eye opening difficult time for all. I don't know how my sister can do it, all alone.
Years ago they would have just considered her retarded and placed her in an institution, where she would have lived her life mindlessly, drugged and forgotten. When I look at her beautiful face I am reminded of how innocent she is. No one knows what that frown means on her face, no one can read her, she is an enigma. What thoughts go through her head I wonder. Why does she lose her temper for no reason and begin to beat herself about the head with hard, closed, fists. She knows enough to throw a fit to get her way, but not to understand why she can't always have her way.
She recognizes the Dollar Store or Rite Aide, where she knows her mother will buy her comic books and crayons. She will tear the pages out and throw them on the floor, angry if you try to discard them. Her reasoning a mystery never to be unraveled.
I couldn't do it. She doesn't even know how to care for her personal needs. What would happen to her if my sister died. I know I couldn't handle her. What on earth would I do?
My sister is overprotective. I understand it, it's hard to watch, but I do understand it. If you give her whatever she wants she will be happy, but you will not. I try to tell her things, ideas, suggestions, but she won't listen. She over compensates for the divorce and I feel awful to say I know how he must feel. There is no fix for this problem. There is just a very pretty young woman who will never have a life, never fall in love, never be a real person, how sad. And a family torn apart by something they could not fix.
Autism is a terrible disease, affliction, mental disorder, whatever you want to call it. It has ruined the life of a young human child and of those around her.
A cure has to be found, or at least a way to prevent it. Imagine what she could have accomplished, if that little mind could have opened up to the world.
We have to fix this!!! Support the study for a cure.


  1. Welcome back, Mary!

    What a sad story about your niece. It's so difficult when you can't comfort a child. I'm sure your visit was a blessing to your sister. Is this where you got the idea for the older daughter in Tripping through Time? You handled it beautifully.

  2. That's where it came from. There is a smart little thing in there and she can't get out.
    Thanks for commenting Helen!

  3. Welcome home, Mary.

    Such a heartwrenching and sad story. As Helen said, I'm sure your sister appreciated your visit immensely.