December 12, 2012

Autism and rising to challenges

Beth Kuklinski

Eleven years ago I became a mother to a boy and girl set of twins. Two short years after that, my son, Jon, began losing language and was soon diagnosed with Autism. Maybe some of you can relate to the whirlwind that begins when you hear that your precious and beloved child has an exceptional need. I describe it being pulled out with the tide, rolled and tossed by the ocean, and then, if you stop struggling, you find yourself underwater in a new and mysterious world with skills more amazing than you dreamed and that you never knew you possessed…such as breathing underwater. It isn’t easy.

I live an unusual life now. After years of interventions and fighting for services, fighting for understanding, fighting against the world as it was, we walked away. Literally, we walked away. In the short version I struggled to find a charter school that would accept my son due to his bathroom accidents. He attended private school with an aide for a year while I went to grad school and worked full time. He went to a public school for four days. He began pulling his hair out and screaming not to go. I watched boys tease and bully him while I was a few feet away. I felt helpless and so did he. So I told the teacher “we were leaving”. “You can’t do that” she said. “Watch me,” I replied and we walked out of that school, and that life, forever.

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