This morning the doors of the school were open for the parents of our autists (and other children with special needs) to come and meet each other and the professionals working here. The turn out was not great: many parents live a great distance from the school and some try to avoid reminders that their chidren are different to what society likes to call "normal".
But there were several stars that I will remember for a while.
The mother of 3 autists (two of them 16 year old twins) who had done so much research into different intensive techniques and had much to contribute to our meeting.
The mother and father of an adopted autistic non verbal girl, who had been approached by the makers of a French tv program (to be broadcast Sunday night). The brief of the program was to show daily life with an autist and the stresses that can cause. They agonised over whether their duty was to help the public at large understand more about autism, or whether their child would be destabilised by the presence of a film crew. And whether they could trust the journalists not to sensationalise their experiences...
They decided not to risk their childs wellbeing.
The school is large and has other workshops to train older children and adults for the world of work. These people are not necessarily autists but have other problems. Which brings me to the other star parent that I met. A tall thin man, a doctor, who told me of his interest in music and how he often played the organ at wedding services... and funerals!
His son was large, sporty looking 18 year old, from Madagascar. He walked with a rolling, confident gait. His father explained why. "When we adopted him, he was 2 years old and his belly was so swollen with malnutrition, he could not see his feet. His way of walking was to sway from side to side, sometimes like a crab so that he could see the ground. But he was also paralysed on one side due to lack of oxygen at birth. He was the second of triplets and had to hang around a bit too long before he was born.The third triplet did not survive."
He rejoined his wife and the rest of his numerous adopted family.
What makes people perform such acts of altruism and give of themselves so generously?
I wish I knew. That I could love like that.
My milk of human kindness does not flow as well as it might.
Still, when we hear of so much unrelenting evil in the world, it is nice to know that the good guys are out there.
Even if I cant be one myself.
4 days ago