I am dedicating this blog to the "previous generations", who grew up before what many consider as an epidemic of autism.
First, what is autism? Even trying to explain autism can cause some controversies. There are those who consider it a disability and seek a cure for their loved ones. Others consider it as a difference, with the disabilities belonging to society as a whole and their attitudes. I don't want to debate this.
But one thing that is true is that autism is a "spectrum disorder". This simply means that there is a wide variation in how individuals with autism and related disorders "present". So when I write about my brother in law, please keep this in mind.
I even have to keep it in mind when I relate to another person on the spectrum who is a frequent guest in my house. This young man (my son's friend) and my brother in law may have a similar "label" but they are very different. Sometimes, I wish my brother in law could have received the early intervention available today....he could have had a different life like this young man will have....but we can not dwell in the past. This is the earliest lesson autism taught me. There have been other lessons, and more will come.
I hope the name of this blog, and its description, describes what I will try to accomplish with this blog.
And now, what am I not trying to accomplish with this blog?
Well....I am not here to debate:
-if there really is an "epidemic" of autism. Or what caused it (vaccines, etc.)
-if autism is something to be "cured", or a "difference".
However, I am going to touch on matters because they have and are touching my brother in law's life. What about employment? Living arrangements? Recreation? And even relationships with the opposite sex? If you read about what I am doing, and disagree, please feel free to comment. But do not attack me. Or, my brother in law. He can't defend himself well. But I can.
One thing I must admit, I almost didn't write this blog. There are blogs dealing with autism that are absolutely filled with hatred and anger. I will not name them. I will not put them on my blogroll. I do not want to go down that path, and if I find I am being attacked online, I will stop the blog. Life is too short, and I have my own health issues to deal with. I hope I don't have to stop writing, and that I can tell this special story.
And finally, why did I dedicate this to the one I admit I don't always love?
Well.....and maybe this is the first admission I will make that will get me attacked. (do I seem a bit defensive here?) I don't always like my brother in law. It is very hard to communicate with him. And I am, by nature, a shy and reserved person. Being with him can be frustrating, to say the least. I may not always love him.
But I will fight, to the death, for his right to live with dignity and full potential.