By BERN MORLEY
“Today wasn’t a good day.” This statement is delivered to me quietly and matter-o-factly by Sam, my 11 year Autistic old son, as I arrive home from work.
It’s taken me many years to refer to him as this. Autistic. I’ve clung to Aspergers, like it’s not as damning or extreme as Autism. How dare I really. Because this is what Sam is.
He is a high functioning Autistic child. He can speak, he can engage, he can look you in the eye and he can make you laugh like no other child I’ve ever met. He can do everything my other two children can do. Almost.
He can do many things my other two children cannot do. Yet it breaks my heart every day that he struggles so much in this world that you and I see so simply.
Sam is a high a functioning Autistic child. This was, up until recently, labelled Aspergers and is now diagnosed as ‘On the Autism Spectrum’. Sounds kinda daunting huh? Not really – let me tell you about Sam.
Sam is sometimes baffled and sometimes baffling, always beautiful and heartbreakingly vulnerable. He is often acutely unaware how to make friends and read social cues. I recently read a novel written by Graeme Simsion that I think sums it up beautifully – “Asperger’s is a variant. It’s potentially a major advantage. Asperger’s syndrome is associated with organisation, focus, innovating thinking and rational detachment”.
Sam is incredibly intelligent when it comes to a topic that he loves. He becomes obsessed with certain areas, and in turn, can talk about these, often, without reprieve. He will become consumed by prehistoric sharks or Minecraft or Velociraptors.