Monday, October 29, 2007
This is the second family I have traveled with Ashley to interview. While I only experienced a tiny clip of the Weinmaster family life, I now understand a little bit about the daily struggles that parents and children with autism tackle.
I heard Linda share her story about moving to Kansas in order for Adam to receive better schooling; I listened to Adam's older brother talk about the difficulty he has connecting with Adam; I was struck by the variety of alternative medication Linda has sought out, but what hit me the hardest was Linda saying that she wants to see Adam have a friend. For me, that phrase captured the sense of not belonging and loneliness that comes with having autism.
Sure, Adam has tried to fill that loneliness with a fascination for ninja turtles and hobbies like defeating the next level on his nintendo game, but plastic toys and television characters can only fulfill a person so much. Adam's mom wants him to have a friend.
Adam's mom, Linda, also briefly described Adam's schooling, which caught my ear because of the reading I have done concerning the transition from schooling to adulthood. She mentioned that it is not uncommon for Adam's entire class to break out in a tantrum. It is a chain affect: one student becomes upset and soon the entire class is throwing a fit. These shared tantrums may lead people to think that students with autism connect on some level, but Linda did not view it that way.
There Adam is in school, surrounded by students like himself, yet no connection, not a single friend. My hope for this portion of our series is that our viewers develop an understanding for the unique bond that a mother shares with her son; most importanly, I hope they see how fragile that bond is when the son has autism.