There was a post on a bulletin board not too long ago. Click HERE to read the article. The story is two mothers were shopping in a local store. One of them had a baby, the other one had an older child. The mother with the baby goes and starts telling her baby "say Hi to the girl". The other mother, tells this mother "Don't let my child get near the baby". But, it was too late. The older child had hit the baby. Before this happened, the mom had said that her daughter has issues and not to let her near the baby. The baby was not seriously hurt, and cried for a few seconds and then was fine. As a parent who has a special needs child, I have been in these awkward situations. Having to apologize for my autistic son when he hit them. It has not happened a lot, but it has happened. Nick has no idea that what he is doing is wrong-he just knows that he is upset. Therefor, trying to tell him what he did was wrong is not going to compute right away. It takes time and lots of repetition. We also try to avoid these outbursts, but honestly, sometimes they just happen and you can't do anything about it. Such is life with having a disabled child. Now, I also have a typical child. And yes, if someone came up and hit him I would be mad. But, some of the responses to that post were just downright horrible. Suggesting that we put our children in "higher" care if we cannot control them, that they are a danger to the general public, and that we should leave them at home. Some question our parenting skills and say things like our children are one step away from being a felon or worse. These are mothers saying this. This is the kind of thing we have to deal with everytime we take Nick out. I can feel people staring at us. Wondering what is wrong with that little boy in the basket as he grunts and bangs constantly on its sides. They stare, and probably talk about him as they are in their cars going home. Sometimes it doesn't bug me. Sometimes it does. Yesterday, it bugged me. Then on the way home, my mind wandered to think of Fran Peek.
Fran's son, Kim Peek, was the inspiration for the movie "Rainman". Kim did not have Autism. Instead, he had Agenesis of the Corpus Collosum-with other impairments. He memorized every book he ever read, new every zip code in the US, among many other amazing feats. Doctors told his parents to put him in a home and forget about him. Kim never went to an institution. Instead, his parents loved him and raised him at home. After his mother passed away, his father, Fran, tended to his every need...every day. Since "Rainman" Kim has had many speaking engagements-accompanied by his father. He continued to learn social cues, and was even developing a sense of humor. Kim Peek died over the holidays. He did not die from his mental condition, he died from a heart attack. His father outlived him. Of course, this is every parents nightmare. But think just for one minute. Kim never had to be institutionalized. Fran never had to worry about who would care for his son when he passed. Never had to worry about the care he would recieve, or that other care givers would simply exploit Kim. Kim lived at home his entire life, and got to travel to world renowned places sharing with the public his amazing abilities. People like that give me the strength I need to make it through another day. The world has lost a great mind, and a great person. We can sure use more Fran and Kim Peeks in our world.