The Trip

My Aunt called me. It had been 20 years. She called me and we spoke for a couple of hours, plus. A beautiful conversation, the kind that defined family – A family in which I dream to know. Visiting them, one time, a long, long time ago….in wilds of Oregon where they owned property. I ate their apple pancakes and played in the treehouse amongst the frogs and toads…..

My dreams, the simple dreams of a new Mother, verified by our “life architect” for a Father. A Mother with two sons, one being healthy and viable to todays standards, another diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum. Are these typical dreams? No such thing. So sorry, not today. Now, or well….ever. With only 50 percent of our children enjoying good health, please, don’t be surprised.

In the day when we received a diagnosis, the old studies on Autism correlated engineering genius with late talking children. My eldest dutifully verifies this “research”. His grandmother a scientist, grandfather previously an engineer with the Boeing Corporation, plus multiple bonus points for his great-uncle, the true born renown rocket-scientist who worked with, and for NASA.

After our eldest was diagnosed on the autism spectrum, moderately affected, normal “dreams” and “typical” rules were ditched. We were now carving out a NEW normal for our family and emerging adult son on the spectrum, that includes all other families in the same circumstances.

Henceforth “The Astronaut Analogy” aka my son, James Frye, diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum so many years ago.

Check out this video on YouTube:

~ Wendy Frye

“…And these children
that you spit on
as they try to change their worlds
are immune to your consultations.
They’re quite aware
of what they’re going through…”
― David Bowie

Muster

The gate-keeper claimed 30 years of experience in disability services while he eyed our son. Our son, who just happens to be a very talented collage of a person on the autism spectrum and a recent high school graduate.

After we were asked 15 times over 5 minutes in 15 different ways imaginable IF we paid our application fee. Then we were told by the gate-keeper that this particular gentleman possessed two friends. These alleged friends just happen to be a father and son, of whom are both doctors no less. And that these two “highly pedigreed friends” (cough, cough out the side of his face) just happen to have young grandson/son in common, who happens to be Autistic.

And we are supposed to care? Well, yes in general, we care very, very much – but we did not care at all for the insertion of this particular fact while in a meeting regarding our sons secondary education needs. The 5 x 5 office space was already too cramped and eye contact was going to get pretty limited. Right. About. Now.

“Well, my friend and his son, both who are DOCTORS, do NOT believe that vaccines cause Autism.” The gate-keeper proclaims to his ever deflating potential student.

He draws a loud breath and continues….”We will require a 3 hour reading and writing assessment.” For art classes – even labs. Awesome. Didn’t we cover our Achilles heel well enough over the 15 years of education, therapies, assessments, awards, grades, passing standardized testing, web-site, art submissions earning honors, even the high school ceramics teacher staying on one more year before retiring all because of the massively unique talent this particular college applicant possesses?

“But, if you haven’t paid that application fee, I fail to understand how he is already in our system.” Gate-keeper stated. “Because he earned that 4.0 grade when he attended a running start college class while in high school in industrial arts (yes, while in special education). AND, I understand it was a fairly complicated class.” Came my snarky retort. None of us in our family circle were confused anymore – our son was being assessed, not admitted, by a person with so much experience, BUT without even a tiny clue regarding Autism. Oh right! His pals were doctors, right!?! And, discussing vaccines during this meeting was critical and germaine to our sons college success, but of course! W. T. F.

While leaving we deliberately and mis-leadingly scheduled “the assessment test” and flagrantly walked past admissions without paying our application fee. But we were not defeated. Oh no, not us, not now and possibly never again. Because, as his parents, we knew there was no conceivable way we were going to subject this fine young man, who possesses the heart of a lion, to a situation in which he was going to fail. This is a person who understands everything, yet his disability lies in communication. He has adapted admirably to his disability within the creation of his own art. This art supports his need to communicate with the world what it is like to be a person with Autism.

During the drive home we cooled him down, explained that he needs only a certain set of skills in which to create his graphic art, and he was going to learn and expand those skills. Ended up he was somewhat relieved, knowing that he would not have to endure any class in which he was not highly interested in, just to earn a diploma. He’s paid enough dues. So we’ve looked around and soon found a better and more meaningful path for him.

Incubating his new skills, refining old ideas and thoughts that he so desperately wants to communicate with us all, The Astronaut is learning his new language in graphic arts. Assisted by his family and a soon to be elevated non-profit, this trip continues…….

“Go James!” ~ Your Mother, Wendy Frye

“A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.” ~ David Brinkley

http://www.jamesfryeartist.com

20121115-143105.jpg