Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Friday, April 12, 2013
Michael Chiklis speaks about Autism
Michael Chiklis on Autism Awareness
To find out more about our personal story, see the "10 Things I Did to Heal My Autistic Son."
Monday, October 10, 2011
Friday, September 30, 2011
In There Somewhere
When first their journey started, one form seemed like such a minor thing. It gave her hope; something to do, an action to take that might lead to resolution and answers. Every specialist and doctor she called had their own version. For each form she filled out, another took its place. She found a rhythm to the process and disturbing similarities in the questions.
Does your child bring you toys or show you things?
Does your child give basic greetings like Hi or Bye? Does he or she wave?
Is he or she verbal?
No, no, and no were always her answers. Why were all the answers no? At the time, she’d tried not to think about it. She’d photocopied them all before turning in the original. Now, they covered her table like a paper train wreck.
The speech therapist somehow became her first appointment. Even without an official answer to Nathan’s problem, it was one step she had been able to take immediately. There were so many therapists to choose from, and Elaine found one of the best.
She remembered how on their second visit, the speech pathologist produced a toy house. Nathan, who was still working on toilet training, immediately pointed to the small bathroom with a smile.
The therapist had been encouraged, calling it a wonderful moment of clarity. Elaine remembered the woman’s words of encouragement. “Nathan does appear to be aware of his world. It’s a good sign and something we can build on.”
All Elaine could think about was the fact that he still couldn’t undue his pants by himself.
The occupational therapist came next, then the pediatric specialist for blood tests and dietary supplements that might help. She tried not to watch the days tick by between each appointment, but it was so hard not to. Nathan’s father had given up a year ago. Her only family, an uncle, was halfway across the country, and he was convinced it was a parenting issue.
Again she stared at the forms, remembering how with each one she filled out she’d prayed for a miracle.
Tap, tap, tap…
Nathan was now hitting the open DVD case against the wall, watching intently how it opened and closed with each successive rap.
Elaine looked to the phone sitting on the cushion next to her. She’d been on it all day again, holding it to her head until her ear hurt and her arm felt tired. The Internet was a constant whirl of advice-filled blogs and chat groups. Hours talking, hours clinging to hope that something or someone could tell her what she craved to know.
And then the terrifying moments in between when she dreaded what she might hear.
Today, she finally got her answer.
Doctor Han was one of the first experts she had found, but his credentials also made him the most sought-after. He’d come with multiple referrals from other parents. She waited months for the appointment to have Nathan tested and weeks after that for the doctor to write his report. He would at last put a label to her concerns.
The dreaded label.
She hated it and needed it at the same time. So there she’d sat on the couch in Han’s office for the moment of truth. Her son had been in the corner, knocking blocks against the wall. She listened in fretful silence, half her mind pleading that he’d say something different than what she feared. He didn’t.
Elaine’s breath trembled with the memory. She quietly whispered again the question she’d asked the doctor next, words that had fallen out of her mouth as though someone else were speaking.
“Was it something I did?”
She hardly remembered the doctor’s response, just a vague sense of inadequate comfort.
Elaine looked across the room at her son’s baby picture hanging over the mantle. Such a beautiful smile, such a happy baby. Sitting amongst a group of teddy bears, little Nathan’s laugh was caught in a moment of time. Even now, it lit up the room. Where had he gone, that beautiful little boy who loved to laugh, who giggled, who hugged her so tight?
She used to think that the worst thing in the world would be to have a child die. Elaine now had a new definition for horrible loss. Every day she saw him. Every hour she spent devoted to his needs. And yet, if she reached out, he would usually pull away. She had no idea what his favorite color was, or if he liked Spiderman better than Batman. If he had dreams or wishes, she couldn’t say. Her son was physically there, but she didn’t know him. He was gone from their shared world.
At least there was finality to death. She could mourn.
In a fury, she shoved the pile of papers to the floor.
“Dammit!” She gripped her hands together and let her head fall onto her knuckles, squeezing them tight until her interlaced fingers stung with the effort. “Stop it, Elaine. Stop thinking that way.”
But she couldn’t. She rocked her head back and forth, aware only of the pain in her fingers and the horrible crushing weight inside her chest. Would she ever know that happy baby again?
She realized someone was standing beside her and looked over to see Nathan. He shifted from one tip-toe to the next, standing just out of her reach.
“Aap, aap,” he said, his tiny hand opening and closing in her direction.
“Not tonight, Nathan.”
“Aap, aap,” he said again.
It was his own made-up word; the only one he used regularly, and it meant he wanted something. She looked at his sweet face. His eyes were big, blue, and very round – his most endearing feature from the day of his birth, the first thing anyone noticed. As usual, they looked just to the side, never quite meeting her gaze.
“Nathan, look at me.”
“Aap, aap,” he repeated again. His hand gesture was more pronounced.
“Then look at me.” She moved off the couch and knelt on the carpet, trying to put her face in front of his.
In response, her son began rocking back and forth, a gentle motion of the shoulders and chest. He looked up higher to the ceiling as the rocking grew more pronounced.
“Aap, aap.” He intoned the words in a monotone, sing-song quality now, repeating with each rock. “Aap, aap.”
“Come on buddy, stop.” She took hold of his hands.
The rocking ceased. He pushed her hands aside and came toward her. She fought the urge to gasp. Rarely did Nathan draw closer.
Any hope she felt in the moment passed when the rocking began again, this time hitting his head against her chest. He knocked his head repeatedly into her breastbone. It didn’t hurt physically, but it may as well been a sledgehammer in her heart. Elaine closed her eyes, trying to maintain what little control she had left.
“Aap.” He bumped into her. “Aap.”
It was too much. She grabbed his shoulders, shaking him in desperation. “Nathan, please!”
For the briefest of moments, Nathan stood perfectly still, his visual focus transfixed on a spot just above and beyond her head. He pulled away, but she held him firm. He pushed forward. On instinct, she let herself lean back in response to his push, but did not let go his shoulders. When he leaned backward again she moved with him. Soon they were mutually rocking, a mother and son in rhythm.
She forgot time, thought. There was nothing but this moment and where it might lead. Back. Forth. Back. Each movement was a tether to the tiny connection between them.
At some point he slipped between her hands and climbed into her lap. Wrapping his little arms around her neck, he rested his head against her chest. Without missing a beat, Elaine continued to rock him tenderly.
“Aap, aap,” he said once more, this time with a soft contentment in his voice.
“Yes, rocking. I’m sorry. I didn’t understand.”
She sat with him. Rocking. Just rocking. She realized that she couldn’t remember the last time he’d let her hold him like this.
Her first sob choked out. The second was halting and silent in its intensity. When her shoulders started shaking, her lid of control popped off completely. Months of pent-up anguish poured out in heaving breaths that came up from her gut until she had no air left to cry with. She held Nathan tighter in a futile attempt to manage her flooding emotions.
She became aware of small, soft fingers patting the back of her neck. A hand wiped at the tears on her cheek. She looked down. There she saw the baby-blue of Nathan’s eyes. Those beautiful, round windows to the soul were looking right at her.
“Don’ cry, Mama.”
Her breath shuddered with her sudden inhale. A moment of clarity?
“Okay,” she heard herself saying.
Nathan wiped at her other cheek and then cuddled into his mother once more.
If love was strength, she held him with all of it and kissed his hair.
“There you are, baby. There you are. I knew you were in there somewhere.”
by, Julie Diane Moore
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Sunday, July 31, 2011
- Hot to plot a story in 15 minutes
- How to define character and setting
- The importance of clear and concise exposition
- The top plot problems that may get your manuscript rejected
Date: Tuesday, August 30th
Time: 6pm to 8pm
Cost: $15 online or $20 at the door
Location: IECE Business Resource Center
202 E. Airport Drive, Suite 100
San Bernardino, CA 92408
Register online at www. iewbc.org or call (909) 890-1242The IEWBC is a cooperative program between IECE and the US Small Business Administration. This U.S. Small Business Administration Cooperative Agreement is partially fundedby the SBA. Checks are not accepted.
Go to http://www.iewbc.org/workshops/ and click on San Bernardino Workshops for complete registration information. Seating is limited!
See you there.
--Julie Diane Moore