After our son was diagnosed Autism Spectrum Disorder, moderately affected, 15 years ago we started a long and winding road of therapies, paperwork, social service agency appointments, hassling with our insurance coverage and literally keeping ourselves sane.
Our family’s world was a lot different from typical. When our son was diagnosed, the autism lottery odds were 1 to 10,000. At the time, it really narrowed the playing field considerably to perhaps find another family going through the same hell as we were.
On top of that, I wore the Scarlet Letter “A” in Autism land. My son was well and healthy, he received a typical medical procedure, and within two weeks he was never to be the same. Witnessing this change in my son, it was very confusing, especially when its your first born. He was now unwell, his immune system collapsed and it has been a virtual odyssey ever since. I have always felt my son would make it, he would be physically well again – and with that wellness would come development. Hence, my Scarlet Letter.
I was introduced to Kris by our mutual case worker from our state’s developmental disabilities department. He must have sensed we needed each other due to our heretic feelings that our children could be healed. Remember, this was 15 years ago, before Jenny McCarthy and all of the attention swirling around this now Age of Autism. (Go Jenny!)
My son was injured, Kris’s son came out pissed off or scared, really doesn’t matter. She told me he screamed bloody murder for much of his babyhood. His sensory issues must have been the fuel for this amazing Mother and her family’s choice to employ the Son Rise method of treatment in their home. Son Rise, in a nutshell, is a “room time” program that is one on one play/therapy that can last up to 12 hours a day. She has never told me the cumulative number of hours it took to get her boy back – because it took as much time that was needed and that is how long it took.
Well, her son, my son’s friend, is an amazing person. Kris has spearheaded a recovery process like none I’ve ever heard of. Her entire family and all the volunteers that were involved in the early years were the catalyst that pulled her son back from the void.
Beyond this, she has co-parented with her husband, one of the finest young ladies I’ve ever met. Kris has home schooled her kids. It made sense with the bond that she and her son had formed. In addition, he also formed a deep bond with his big sister. Kris’s daughter has accomplished more in her 16 years, with her families support, than some people do in a lifetime. I can’t wait to see what adventures and accomplishments her daughter finds in the future.
So when things are running a lot smoother, what does my friends family decide to do? Oh ya, adopt a gorgeous daughter from China, who has special needs of her own. Why not? Now, the whole family speaks Chinese. Now, the family (it’s a team) has filed the paperwork and is awaiting word about their next family member, a special needs little guy, again from China.
Whenever I feel like my life it too hectic, or if I get a little selfish, I think of my friend Kris and her family. We meet up some weekends at each others house or we go to the local Barnes and Noble so the guys can play Nintendo and check out books and magazines. Sometimes she brings her oldest daughter, sometimes I bring my youngest son. Regardless of it all, our sons are friends. And that alone is what matters most.
Thanks Kris for knowing us – you and your husband are amazing people raising amazing children. I can’t even think of what it would be like not knowing you – the person willing to hike with a broken back to show us lady bugs……and my son who’s willing to follow. Looking back, it is incredibly profound given what we were supposed to believe, isn’t it?
“Your life is what your thoughts make of it.” ~ Marcus Aurelius Antonious
~ Wendy Frye