I Have A Few Dreams

Filed Under (Joy) by Estee on 23-08-2010

Watching me these days and I think you will find me deep in thought. I’m dreaming, thinking. Not the kind of dreaming where I’m floating (well, okay, sometimes), but the kind that I think is important for all parents of autistic children. Maybe this comes at the right time — right before Adam begins his new school.

Usually when we speak of the future, there is fear in our voices. We believe that there will be fewer services, aides and opportunities once our kids turn twenty-one. This is the case for many people. While we must work on the programs and services that autistic people may need throughout their lifetimes, I also want to think about all that is possible. I believe that the more we do this, the more likely we will achieve the kinds of supports and opportunities for our kids that we fear we will lose.

I dream about riding a bike with Adam. Kristina Chew’s stories about Charlie and her husband James has motivated me to teach Adam how to cycle better (he has a tendency to always be looking where he has been rather than where he is going…a rather ironic notion).

I think about taking Adam around the world, and if not entirely around it or entirely with me, I’d like to think he will see the world in any event. I think of Horseboy and recently the travels of Larry Bissonnette and Tracy Thresh as part of the film Wretches and Jabberers (great title). I think that if we’ve come this far, we can likely go farther both physically as well as mentally. I took Adam to Mexico last year, and lugged him deep down into Mayan caves, and there will be more. Sure, we’ll have to endure some discomfort along the way, some rude comments, leering eyes and possibly some meltdowns with delayed travel and other frustrations, but I consider when the time is right, it will be worth the try. I mean, Adam is already an explorer. He will find every nook, every cranny, every inviting pathway that I, in my perpetual goal-state-of-mind, will miss far too often. Even with the liklihood of some discomfort, I can’t help but wonder if moving around and seeing new things may be the best education of his life, and quite likely, of mine.

I dream about Adam in higher education — be in college or university, exploring what he loves and being assisted if he needs it. So many people delay their entrance also into higher education. So the timing just doesn’t matter. There are many stories of autistic adults in universities right now and thanks to them, it keeps my dream alive.

I dream of Adam having his friends and people he loves around him. He likes people. Although we are addicted to social networking (you can find me everyday twittering and FB’ing and blogging — I’m torn about the whole matter), I had written for the TAAP exhibition in 2007 how technology really assisted the social connections between autistic individuals. Adam also uses the computer (although not yet for that) and he has a friend he goes to school with. I see no reason, as he is helped along the way, why the wouldn’t have people he loves to have around him. The many autistic friends I’ve made along the my journey of learning how to support my autistic child has helped me keep this dream alive.

I was also thinking of the dreams I had for Adam when he was newly diagnosed and a toddler — how I had hoped he could go to a good school, become more independent and begin to communicate. Although he is still challenged on the latter, he communicates far better than he used to. The autistic teenagers and adults who use Assisted and Augmentative Communication have helped keep this dream alive.

I dream of Adam cooking his own food because he seems to enjoy helping me out in the kitchen. Although this is not always possible for all autistic people, for others, it is. Susan Senator and her family write a lot about cooking (or is it that I’m especially alert to Susan’s food postings?). She and her son Nat have helped me keep this dream alive.

I dream of Adam continuously enjoying self-expression. He has shown a particular fondness towards art. Those of you who know my passion for this subject will know that I have many autistic artists to thank and who have kept this dream for Adam’s happiness in self-expression, alive. It would be difficult for me to list everyone here.

I realize that since before I started writing The Joy of Autism blog, I have so many people to be thankful for in helping keeping dreams alive. There are many stories on the web now that weren’t when I began writing in 2005. The daily successes are worth reading every day.

Although Adam is still quite different, he has accomplished so much. As his parent, my dreams for him as well as myself are thriving. I think this is what we most fear as new parents — that the weight of unknown responsibilities will take these dreams and hopes away — not only for our children, but for ourselves. While I have not written the entire list of my dreams here today, I see that dreams, as we adjust our views and expectations of our autistic children, really do come true.

As for Adam, I’m quite certain he’ll have many of his own dreams to share one day.

What are yours?

There are so many autistic people and parents who have helped keep many of my dreams alive that I have not listed here today. I’ve been writing about many of them for a few years now.


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About Me


I’m a PhD candidate at York University, Critical Disability Studies, with a multi-disciplinary background in the arts as a curator and writer. I am the Founder of The Autism Acceptance Project (www.taaproject.com), and an enamoured mother of my only son who lives with the autism label. I like to write about our journey, critical issues regarding autism in the area of human rights, law, and social justice, as well as reflexive practices in (auto)ethnographic writing about autism.