I wish I could leave my son at times, forget that he even existed.
My son is six years old, yet he acts no older than the age of two. He was born seemingly okay. Everything seemed normal at first.
However, he didn't seem to "bond" with me: he seemed distant somehow, like he was looking off into space or into some other netherworld. We had no clue as to what he saw or why he was doing this; it troubled us deeply.
We got worried, so we took him to our pediatrician. He assured us that it was nothing to worry about. Some children develop slower, he told us; if he didn't seem to improve within the next few months, we should bring him back in for a full medical evaluation.
Well, Lucas didn't seem to improve over time: in fact, he seemed to be getting worse. Instead of interacting with us or his brother or sister, he seemed more interested in his toys or watching the ants crawling along the ground.
We couldn't reach him. It was like he "zoned out," was in his own little space. He would only eat certain things. If we tried to make him do chores, he'd throw great big noisy temper tantrums that would send me crying to my room in a torrent of tears.
We took him back to the doctor. It was then when after having a battery of tests that he was diagnosed as having autism, a puzzling neurological disorder that is still misunderstood today, even though it seems to be more prevelent in children.
As Dr. Hayes explained it to us, it was a neurological disability characterized by odd, repetitive, bizarre behavior patterns, failure to interact with other people, relating to objects more, or eating certain things.
No two children with autism exhibited the same behavioral pattern; some were barely affected while others, like Lucas, were faced with daily struggles, particularly when faced with new or unfamiliar situations. Anything or anyone could set off an uncrontrollable sense of rage; this was when Lucas would become especially destructive.
Lucas goes to a special school for children with autism; the teachers (and therapists) there help him learn how to cope in a world not geared to his special needs. It gives us a break from him, even if only for a few hours, a much needed respite from our little human tornado.
That's what we call Lucas whenever he is in one of his "autistic moments".
We have two other children, a four-year-old boy named Tevin and a new adopted girl, nine-month old Journie-Rene'; yet it is six-year-old Lucas Daniel who demands most of our time and attention. He is so unpredictable; one never knows when he is going to go off. He is like a Fourth of July firecracker: he is apt to explode at any given moment.
Time with Lucas is fraught with tears, stress, uncertainty, anger. It is during these bad days when I wish I could kill Lucas, to put him out of his misery, and to give us our old life back. Raising a child with a disability like Lucas' is difficult at best, and I wouldn't wish it on my own worst enemy!
~To be continued.~