It has been so long since I have written in Mateo’s story. I think of stories, challenges and moments to write. But I never seem to have the time to put together a cohesive blog. I wanted to write about losing another child to wandering, but the news is so depressing and painful that I chose to just post it on facebook and leave it at that.
And this is about Mateo’s journey with Autism and my families journey with Autism. And I have always focused on the positives, because for me life is one big challenge. We are all faced with challenges, it’s how we take them on that matters. Saying Autism is a challenge is definitely not a sufficient enough explanation for so much that people with Autism are faced with each day. Or the battles parents with Autism fight for our children. But if we can take a moment each day and look at the progress or even how well we handled that huge meltdown or how we developed a new plan for taking on that challenging behavior, things become easier.
Our house is now full with stories of Angry Birds and Jurassic Park. Mateo is a born story teller, he loves to imagine his life within his passions. He is now determined to make a dinosaur. Now by making a dinosaur, I don’t mean one out of molding clay, I don’t even mean one of those cool dinosaur models you put together. I mean genetically creating a dinosaur. Mateo is now reading quite well and very interested in researching his interests on the internet.
He has googled: “How to make a dinosaur” “Dinosaur DNA” “www.dinosaurs.com”. And with that has found a paleontologist who shares his interest, and with his Dad’s help has been consumed with his Ted Talks. So when my son creates a real Jurassic park one day, please don’t be surprised. He has intense determination.
My goal is to never crush that determination, his incredible imagination or his infinite dreams. Those are what will push him through life, to make him successful and independent. Helping him to pursue his love of dinosaurs now, will help him to explore and become passionate about science. Helping him to create and produce his little Angry Bird’s videos on his private You Tube page will foster his love for art and creativity.
So many times with children with Autism we try to fit them into a box where they don’t belong. We try to force other subjects on them, stifle their passions. We are told to make them restrain their self-stimulatory behavior to make them fit into our world. I remember how awful I felt when trying that, how it felt so wrong to me and how happy we all were when I decided that we weren’t going to do that in our home anymore. And how Mateo himself adapted to his classroom, and eventually found his own coping methods. Because we believed in him.
I love entering his world, he loves to include me in his angry bird’s videos, or when his dad and him go on a hunt in the backyard for Dinosaur DNA. How even when he’s having a hard time, I will still hold him with all of my strength and let him know that he is safe. Every day I think of how proud I am of how he’s taken on so many challenges. I am so happy to have this amazing boy in my life, and that is a lot to be grateful for.
Trying to convince him that Jurassic Park is not a real place that we can go to, that’s a whole other challenge!