Saturday, October 11, 2008

open day for the autists

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.

13 comments:

Lady P said...

Bloody hell woman. You make me cry with your writing and you make me cross. Cos from where I am you DO love that much. As evidenced by your work, and your writing about that work. We can't all adopt, most of us can't do many things, as many things probably as we *can* do. So many people choose not to do the things that they might be able to.

I'm cross with you for devaluing yourself and your contribution so mercilessly. Your students are LUCKY to have you. I am LUCKY to have you. So thank you :-)

Lucy said...

Everything Lady Penelope said.

Much love, please take care of yourself.

Mike said...

I don't know what it is about people who can give so freely of themselves, but I surely do wish I could be one of the.

Beautiful post Rosie!

Ms Mac said...

I like to think that one day I too would be able to give of myself so willingly.

And then I remember who I am and am thankful that others, like yourself, make up for my shortfall.

Omykiss said...

You're right rosie ... there are people out there who make life worth living for the rest of us.

meggie said...

I stand in awe of parents who have children with disabilities, but people who adopt those childre deserve unreserved support!

Rosie said...

I do what I can... I am lucky to work in such a caring place, but I have to acknowledge spiritual greatness when I see it from closeby. I am an atheist but you dont have to believe in God to recognise goodness...

Rosie said...

and, by the way, the tv program that was broadcast on Sunday night was really not too bad, and at least gave some idea of the diversity of people on the spectrum... but of course there was still quite a bit of distasteful focusing on any parental tear that might be in evidence in a voyeuristic sort of reality tv way...

Casdok said...

Lovely to hear of your star parents. But you are a star too :)

I was approached to do a documentary on C, but decided against it for a veriety of reasons. So glad to hear the program wasnt too bad.

Jean said...

Have you read Oliver Sacks's latest book, Musicophilia? It has some interesting things to say about music and autism, which made me think of you.

Dingo said...

What incredible parents. What incredible students. What an incredible teacher.

hexe said...

Teaching is a gift. Music is a gift. You are contributing to the greater good with your talents - don't sell yourself short. While you certainly can admire these star parents, don't forget how wonderful you are too!

katydidnot said...

there are really good people out there. not everyone gives in the same way. your gift was sharing that with all of us maybe.