by a mother in the ASPIRE group in Waterloo-Wellington
My son "DJ" still hesitates to tell his story. There is still a lot of pain because he wasn't diagnosed until he was 15 years of age. He was frustrated a lot and could not understand why others did not see how hard he was trying to be a good boy and be accepted. In private, in the past, he has cried, and asked me, "What is wrong with me?" I swear, I did not know! and because I knew so little, I did not even suspect anything like autism. It wasn't until a psychologist mentioned a term I had never heard before, "Pervasive Development Disorder", and I started to read about it, that the puzzle started to come together to form an answer. Once we had a name, the clouds began to clear, and then we found a whole new understanding and explanation for what was happening.
Now, because of the hard work of people in the autism cause in our region, there was information available to us. Some very special teachers, (one who was responsible for him going to meet with the psychologist I mentioned before), understood Autism, stepped in and from there on the world opened its arms to my son. He was treated more fairly, his classmates were informed and when they understood his difference then they could accept him. Instructors found time to help my son and to encourage his interests. I had teachers stop me in the hall of his school and tell me how wonderful it was to work with him. He gained the self esteem that for so many years he did not have. He was able to complete high school and graduate with his name on the honor roll.
Today he goes to work each morning to a full time
job where he is paid the same and treated the same as anybody else. He
has ambitions to advance himself. Maybe, one day he'll go to college to
learn more about his favourite thing, computers. He's young, he's not afraid
to try and he knows that he is special.