The Gift That Autism Gave Me: A Path to Freedom!

There came a place in my journey when Jaison was 4-5 years old when there was a major shift in my approach to my life. Every single moment before that major shift happened had been about “saving Jaison from autism.” My life had become completely consumed by wanting Jaison to be one of the children who seemed to “recover” from autism. All I wanted was for Jaison to function and grow up to be independent.

#21

The Sharon I had been before autism arrived in my life—-seemed to have flown out the window. Nothing was more important than my Jaison’s healing. I know you know what I mean because so many of your posts have the same flavor. Maybe you’re not quite as obsessed as I was–maybe you are

.
The shift came when I began a process of asking “Who am I?”

Although I found great value in telling my story to those who would listen because I felt understood and comforted, I also began to realize that the more I told myself the story of suffering because of autism–the tighter the noose seemed to get around my neck–the more pain I was in. I was in pain because I believed that story that my life was not going to feel better until Jaison recovered—and it was not looking as promising for me and my Jaison as it looks for many of you. His progress was on the very slow end of autism.

I questioned if who I really am—-is a woman whose life took a drastic turn into the mundane and hopeless because of autism. If that was all I was.
Of course not—came the answer. I’m a wife, and a friend, and a daughter, and on and on.

But something had cracked—or more precisely opened.

I realized that I didn’t know who I was. Not just because of living with autism—but at the core of me. When I looked to see who I was I found emptiness and si! lence. At first the thought that came when I saw the emptiness was—- I’m nobody. I don’t have an identity. I’m a nobody.

But I didn’t stop there–I asked myself—am I really a nobody because when I look to see who I am—I get no answer–just this silence. Does this silence mean I’m nobody—-or does it mean something else?

So I sat and sat and looked at that emptiness to see if it meant I was nobody or not.
Sounds totally terrifying right?

It wasn’t terrifying—it was freeing. I didn’t have to be someone with a child with autism, I could just BE. The silence and emptiness wasn’t doom like I feared—-it was FREEING. The silence and emptiness turned into calmness…and the calmness turned into peace. Eventually the peace turned into this warmth that became joy.

I was free. I could stop believing the thought I was telling myself.

Thoughts like “I’m the one who has to change diapers for the rest of my life.”  Thoughts like “I’m always going to be running around Jaison trying to figure out what he wants–and I’ll never have time for anything else.”

I looked to see where those thoughts came from—I looked to see what was the substance of those thoughts—-like a ceramic pot is made of clay or a woolen rug is made from wool—–I wondered what was the substance of thought. And I found that thought had no substance. The thoughts arose from the same stillness, emptiness and silence—and I didn’t have to believe them, or follow them anymore.

I was free to just be here in this moment without the story—the story of autism. I felt deep peace even if Jaison didn’t recover. And I still do.

sunset

This is the gift that autism gave me—I found a path to freedom. I found a source of fulfillment that wasn’t dependent on what happened in my life. I realized that I might in fact be happier and more at peace than people who hadn’t had to take such a rough road.

And my connection with Jaison deepened because I could see him beyond the appearance of autism—and he is magnificent—he is that silence and peace and freedom also.

I want to share this with other people who have autism in their lives—-I want to shout to the world that although autism looks like a prison it has a silver lining that points to freedom beyond what the world knows.

Helping Your Child with Autism to Blossom!

Wooing at four years old
Wooing at four years old

Hello Dear One!  Yes, you!

I reach out to you with both hands, and hold your hands in mine, and look in  your eyes with deep welcome! I am so glad you are here!

I know the challenges and the joys of raising a son with autism. Yes, I said, “joys”.

If you are like many of the parents I have met over the years, then you are all too familiar with  the pain of raising a child who can’t connect with you. All too often autism is a prison and you lack the key to enter and connect with your child.  There have been many times you want to give up, walk away and get a new life without the burdens of autism. At other times, you feel obsessed with finding a way to help your child function in our world.

But you also know very rare and precious moments, when something sparks a glow of light in your child’s eyes. For a moment, you see beyond the autism, to who your child really is. It’s like the bars of the prison give way and you see the beauty of your child’s soul and the potential hidden there.

It’s likely that your family and friends have never seen that sparkle. That hurts too.

Or maybe you are one of the lucky one’s who’s child can somehow share their inner glow  even in the midst of the autism, and other people can see it.

Either way, there are moments when you carry the torch for your child. You work with all your might helping your child to blossom and helping others to understand your child’s true worth.  Helping a son or daughter with autism to blossom probably ranks as one of the biggest challenge of your life- even if your a CEO of a major corporation,  an astronaut or a political figure.

Blossoming means different things to different parents- maybe blossoming means using picture symbol language, or maybe it means talking, or maybe it means becoming independent, or maybe it means your child finally found a best friend or maybe you don’t even know what “blossoming” would look like . But you want to nourish that little spark you see dancing in your child’s eyes. Maybe you know just what I am talking about, but you gave up long ago. Obviously if your still reading there is a place your heart still aches to reach your child, even your adult child, and let him/her know how much you truly value him/her.

Well, I know what you’re going through. My son Jaison is now 27 years old, and when he was born, autism was 1 in 10,000 children born. Today it’s one in 68 births. We often hear the term “founding father”,  will I am a “founding mother” of the journey you are taking with your little one.  Through some grace, Jaison found a way to “blossom”. Now  when people meet him, they not only see his severe challenges, they also see his “sparkle”.

Would you like to come along on the journey that Jaison and I have traveled? Would you like to ask us just how we did it?

Therapies and techniques for working with children with autism are rampant, and this is not just another approach to solving the challenges of autism. It’s something else. It’s about how to nurture the blossom from a deeper place of honor for your child’s heart. It’s about a quantum leap in insight and understanding that you can take that has the potential to open an unexpected door for your child.

Although Jaison doesn’t speak with his mouth, he typed a play called “Dreams Of An Autistic Playwright.” The play had a staged reading at Colorado University and has been performed by a community theater. We videotaped the performance and recently edited the footage into a DVD of the play. We invite you to see the DVD trailer for the play  and order the DVD here.

Jaison also wrote the words to a song is called “Imagine You!”.  Listen here.

This blog will be a place where we share many things. But first we will be sharing excerpts from the book that Jaison and I are writing about our journey called “More Than You Hoped For: The Unexpected Joy of Raising an Autistic Playwright. Please come along with us on this amazing journey!

HOME

MOVIE TRAILER FOR DREAMS OF AN AUTISTIC PLAYWRIGHT written by Jaison Hart, is a delightful, humorous, hopeful and touching play that educates us about the challenges of living with autism. It demonstrates the gifts a person with autism can bring to his community. 

Watch the Trailer for the DVD of the Play: “Dreams of an Autistic Playwright” by Jaison Hart below.

To obtain a copy of Dreams Of An Autistic Playwright, to learn more about licensing of the play, or to communicate with Jaison or his mother, Sharon, please fill out this form here. 

T

Starlight Dance_DOAP   Jaison quote credits_DOAP Jaison Mom and Laura_DOAP  Jaison + Ogre act 2_DOAP Jaison + Mom_DOAP Jaison + Little Mermaid_DOAP Jaison + Arabian Princess_DOAP DOAP title_DOAP Trevor, Jaison + Sharon Hart_DOAP Mack Bailey, Sharon + Jaison Hart_DOAP Aladin + Princess dine_DOAP Ogre watering__DOAP