Saturday, February 26, 2005

Exerpt from new book about autism
written by Eustacia Cutler, Temple Grandin's mother.

When I learned that she had at long last published a book about Temple's early life I was like, "FINALLY!" The insights into the autistic world that Temple has offered in her books and lectures are invaluable, but as a mother I couldn't help but wonder...what was it like for the rest of the family? People on the spectrum are famously self-absorbed (hence the name of the disorder auto, which means "self" at it's Latin root) and Temple's autobiographical accounts are no exception, bless her. Anyway, this book just came out and the prologue alone has been so moving to me and Jimmy as well. I wanted to share a little bit of it because it may help some of ya'll. Bring you some comfort and encouragement or at the very least a sense of some kind of community. I know that we often feel so alone, despite the rising numbers that this epidemic claims. The disorder itself creates isolation, it just does. Anyway, here it is, from her book, and I just LOVE this title, "A Thorn in My Pocket:"

"I've learned how the parents of autistic children suffer from a loss of their own sense of self. We all know that a baby needs a mother to know that she is a baby, but, equally true is a mother needs a baby to know that she is a mother. When those first infant/mother resposes can't grow, a whole family identity is thrown out of kilter, I understand that far better now, from the vantage point of years than I could when I was young. I understand too how much parents long to be good parents. The purpose of my lectures is to find them and comfort them in their never ending battle with autism."Think of me as your future," I tell them. "I am where you will be many years from now, when you know how it all played out, when 'what will be' has turned into 'what was,' and you will have come to terms with it.'"Perhaps not in the way you thought you would, but you'll no longer feel trapped in the morass of angst and guilt. You will have resolved your child's future and your own. You'll know you've given full measure, and the measure you've given has never been pointless.""I offer you my story as a promise of that: an overall insight to carry with you as a talisman. And I promise that, iin the future to your surprise, your dreams will have changed and changed you."" I know that's not what you want.""What you want is a real talisman, a magic something you think I conjured up to coax Temple into joining life, as you hope your child will. There was no magic; there was just doing the best I could. That's the point; that's the talisman."Theodore Morrison, who knew Robert Frost well, said that Frost also came late to lecturing and was never entirely at ease with it."I always carry something in my pocket I can touch when I am talking," he told Morrison, "so I'll remember who I am. Lately it's been a thorn."

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