And let's talk about something completely different.
The young lady who reviewed me on Scribbling is the mother of 4 children--which totally made me sick with jealousy when I saw her picture, by the way. She's a wife and mother, a writer who once served our country in the Navy, and who's probably too smart for her own good half the time.
In other words, a role model.
What makes her a role model? One of her sons was diagnosed with clasic autism just before his third birthday. Another, they suspect, suffers from Asperger's Disorder, which is also Pervasive Developmental Disorder ("PDD") -- like autism but , according to Aspergers.com:
In Asperger's Disorder, affected individuals are characterized by social
isolation and eccentric behavior in childhood. There are impairments in
two-sided social interaction and non-verbal communication. Though grammatical,
their speech may sound peculiar due to abnormalities of inflection and a
repetitive pattern. Clumsiness may be prominent both in their articulation and
gross motor behavior. They usually have a circumscribed area of interest which
usually leaves no space for more age appropriate, common interests.
By the way, I'm not forgetting the dad in this family. He works his ASS off and attends school at the same time.
When I first heard her story, I was flabbergasted. She and her husband have four small children in their home--which is enough of a strain--and, even more astounding-they are doing everything ON THEIR OWN. Of course, the local school system helps as best they can, and they do have their autistic son on Medicaid which helps with health care and pharmaceutical costs...but let me tell you what they don't have.
They don't have their son covered by their insurance policy because it is 'chronic and non-treatable.' They don't have their son in the nearby Center for Autism Behavorial Disorders at the Munroe-Meyer Institute--because it would cost them thousands upon thousands of dollars out of pocket. They don't have any assistance from any medical foundations or charitable institutions--not even the major autism charities.
As she told me in a conversation: "Doctors don't understand this. I probably know more about it than a GP does."
And through all of this, she managed to find the time not only to read my book but to review it? To encourage her son who may have Asperger's to write (the most ADORABLE little picture book about dinosaurs!) and then post it on a writers' forum for review. Not only did he take the crits, he thought about them and posted his replies. Here's his response to my critique of his story:
Thank you, Miss Celina!I will write more about the fights. I will draw more
pictures, too. I think that is a good idea!Thank you for saying much nice things
about my book and me! DinoBoy
This is a reaction to a CRITIQUE. I couldn't expect that much courtesy and enthusiasm from the critique of a 50 year old writer.
You know what this tells me? It tells me that this is an extraordinary woman, a woman who writes (extremely well, by the way) and raises four active sons. A woman who contributes in such a way to her sons' development and comfort that a boy that most other adults would call 'handicapped' had the werewithal to not only write and draw a children's picture book, but also to write such a well-mannered, thoughtful reply. A woman who, besides her husband and family, gets little to no help from anyone as she struggles with the difficulties of an autistic child.
The next time you feel sorry for yourself, take a minute to check out these sites:
Dr. Stanley Greenspan, developer of one of the most promising behavorial therapies for people with autism -- http://www.stanleygreenspan.com/
and learn something about the world of PDDs. And if you have a moment, stop to consider this mother and how her guidance has given this world an absolutely beautiful talented son.
And maybe, just maybe, you'll feel the same way I do about it.