04 August 2015
I watched this biographical film recommended to me because it was thought that my oldest son was autistic. Such a small box was seemingly presented to me, actually it was more of a remark by someone I had a hard time respecting. After having gone extreme routes with Keane and coming to no good ends, a lot of regrets and lost tempers, Keane's saving grace came in form of a younger brother. Suddenly I had a clue as to what maybe the "norm" was. I also discovered that autism covers an ultra wide spectrum. I apologized to the one who first mentioned the possibility that something might be "wrong" (NOT. God made him this way with good purpose). This film is so well done, with actress Claire Danes doing a PHENOMENAL job of portraying Tempel. 5 minutes into the movie and I was already crying. "My Keane Bean", "that's my Keane Bean." There is nothing easy about working with someone in the category of autism. There isn't a calm afternoon at home, there isn't a nice meal outside, there isn't a pleasant trip to the park without event, there isn't a moment that they don't seem to be in need of something or melting down over something. Every time I go some place new, I am praying there is no drama. I will pick Keane up from a new Sunday school and search the face of his teacher for a sign. Sometimes there is relief, sometimes a confused look, but never, never, the warm greeting I get when I pick up Zeke. That's what normal has become. We have taken so long to bond, Keane and I, and it has only happened with my increased understanding. You might ask why I would do that? Keep forcing him out of the box. Keep making him try new foods, even though he will throw a fit. Keep taking him out, when he would rather stay in. There is something in a parent of a special needs child that compels us to push them farther. It happened with Tempel, it happened with Nick Vujicic (Life without Limbs-links). When I had first heard his parents sent him to public school, where I myself, all limbs included, had a horrible time, I was horrified. I thought, how cruel. Now, I know better. We want our child, our prize, to survive in the world we live in....and not just that, we want them to thrive. Tempel Grandin is a story and a life that did just that. Against all odds. Retain dignity and thrive.