by Ryan Hinds (someone who did)
How many kids have a mother who writes a book about every detail in their childhood? This is when I stand up raise my hand and uncomfortably whisper “I do.” Her book is called I Know You’re In There – Winning our War Against Autism.
My mom asked me to read her book before it was published to make sure I was okay with what she wrote. That was hard to do. I learned about events I didn’t remember and things that were embarrassing. While I want to provide hope and encouragement to others, I still have mixed feelings about sharing our story. I don’t want anyone to know I was once in the third percentile for speech when I entered Kindergarten and had to be taught how to smile. I’m uncomfortable sharing that I used to make strange noises, bite my sister, and played with faucets instead of toys.
I would rather forget everything about autism, and just go on with life. But I can’t, because others need to know that autism is medical, treatable and surmountable. When they know that, recovery becomes a possible.
I now work as an engineer at a major aerospace company. I surf with friends, walk dogs at the animal shelter, and have dinner parties at my apartment. I love to cook and try out new recipes. That works, because my friends all love to eat. Life is good! It is hard to imagine what my life would look like under different circumstances, but I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t involve surfing in Bali or Panama with friends. When I was still affected, I didn’t have friends. It wasn’t until college that friends started to happen.
My life could have been very different if my family had accepted my autism or listened to the “experts.” It is because my family never gave up on me, that I live the life I do. When the doctors told my family there is no recovery from autism, no cure and no hope, they still didn’t give up. Because like the title of the book, they knew I was in there.
It is hard to understand why children are not receiving proper medical treatment to help them. Maybe it is because some doctors still think autism a “developmental disorder.” But is it really okay for children with autism NOT to get the same medical treatment as anyone else? What bothers me most about once being on the spectrum is that I’m still dependent on medications to make my immune system work. I need these medications to feel “normal.” That’s why I say I’m recovered and not cured. It’s kind of like the diabetic who needs insulin to be okay.
Anyone who has read my mom’s book knows she is a little stubborn and can be quite obsessive when on one of her missions. This is not a criticism, just a fact. It was because of her tenacity and perseverance that I got better. But, I worry that she is putting our family out there in her attempt to help others. I don’t want anyone to question the things she said. Some will say I never really had autism or that I was only mildly affected. I wish that were true.
I tire of hearing her talk nonstop about autism to anyone who will listen. My family once taught me not to talk about the same subject over and over again. Maybe I need to get a little ABA behavioral therapy for her. But I know why she does this. Marcia wants every family in the A-club to have a future. What she is doing is important, in addition to being somewhat annoying. Our story had a happy ending, but how many parents are still told there is no hope for their children’s futures. And how many kids will not get better as a result?
Profits from I Know You’re In There: Winning Our War Against Autism go to spread the word that autism is TREATABLE!