by Marcia Hinds – Megan and Ryan’s Mom
Our children do grow up and improve in spite of all our worrying. I’m probably not the one who should be giving advice on this subject. And don’t use this mom as your example of what to do, because my worrying gene was on steroids. It only had an “on” button and I couldn’t seem to stop. I was driven, crazy, and anxious about everything after autism came into our lives.
Questions on how to help Ryan were all I thought about. What should I feed him? Will this medication affect his growth? What do I need to teach him next? Will he ever have eye contact or answer my questions? Do I need to find a different doctor? Should I get his tonsils out? Will he learn to ride a bike? Will he ever be happy, have friends, be invited to a birthday party, or anyone to play with at recess? The list went on and on and I never stopped even to breathe. And the constant and most frightening thing I thought about was who would take care of my son when I was no longer here?
But, the one thing I never worried about when Ryan was young, was exposure to Radio Frequency Fields (RF). Probably because we just hadn’t heard about it yet. Although ignorance never seemed to stop me from worrying about everything else I didn’t know much about. When Ryan was little no one talked about or even knew about RF exposure. And letting him use the computer and not limiting the amount of time he spent on it turned out to be a good thing.
When we were in what I call the height of Ryan’s autism, there was so much more to be overwhelmed by and more important things to concentrate on. My son struggled with reading comprehension all through the elementary school years. This is true for many kids on the spectrum. I suspect it is because language comes later for them. Even though my son is now recovered and an aerospace engineer, his weakness in this area was one of my main concerns when he was in elementary school.
This worried me a lot, since reading comprehension was part of almost every school subject. It doesn’t usually happen for kids on the spectrum, but this was one of the few times my son learned to do something without my help or any direct instruction. And all those years spent surfing the internet had the side benefit of making him read at warp speed and learn those important reading comprehension skills.
At home, Ryan’s beloved computer took the place of the friends he should have had. My son was constantly studying and always on the computer to learn as much as he could about any topic that interested him. Surfing the net also provided the escape he needed from the stress of school. What I didn’t understand was how much he needed that time and how precious it was to him.
I used to feel guilty about letting him spend so much time on the computer. I thought it was time I should have been working with him. Who knew that trying to get a few minutes for myself, and letting him have unrestricted computer time would actually turn out to be a good thing. As a previous teacher, I knew reading comprehension was mostly practice, but it surprised me when he mastered this skill without any help from me and all on his own.
I always tell parents that autism doesn’t get better without intervention, and each day not doing anything is another day lost to autism. But developing reading comprehension skills were the exception for Ryan. So let your kid read what they want on the internet, in comic books, or anywhere else. Go to the library or bookstore and encourage your child to pick books on the subjects they obsess about and on any topic. It doesn’t matter what they read, just that they do. Reading comprehension is mostly practice and this skill will come in time. And don’t forget to take a few minutes to recharge your batteries while your child is reading the latest Thomas the Train book. We all need that. Try to take a few minutes off from being an autism warrior, and don’t worry every minute of every day about everything. I just wish my saying that, would actually work!
NOTE FROM MARCIA HINDS – Megan and Ryan’s mom :
Ryan became an aerospace engineer, because he received proper medical treatment combined with behavioral, and educational interventions. To preview my book, “I Know You’re In There – winning our war against autism” click on http://a.co/a5GWrpM
Contact info for Marcia: