In the whirlwind that follows the diagnosis of Autism,
Time passes quickly.
There is little time to breathe,
Even less time to live.
In the sea of appointments,
On the other side of the revolving door of therapists,
One little boy stands alone,
Wondering why all this attention is directed toward his brother.
Not understanding why these ladies are not here to see him,
When he talks.
How do I tell this child?
What do I say?
Autism...a hollow word to a five year old.
"Why", he asks. "Why can't I talk with the ladies."
My heart breaks for him.
He lives for communication.
He craves conversation.
He devours attention.
"My, Gio," I say cupping his beautiful face my hands.
In a split second, as if all time has stopped,
I ask God for clarity on what to tell his child.
He hears my request and swiftly gives me the gift.
"My, Gio. The ladies are here to help your brother," I try to explain.
"Why?" he begs, "Why aren't they here to see me?"
"Your brother cannot talk and play like you. They are here to help him."
Tears well up in his soulful brown eyes.
"Oh, no!", he cries, "What's wrong with Alessandro?"
The wisdom I prayed for floods out from my mouth supernaturally,
Overriding the torrent of emotions that I want to let loose
When I see my baby boy cry.
"You know, what happens when your trains tracks are not set up right?", I ask.
He looks at me with a mixture of delight because I am talking about his favorite subject and confusion because he really doesn't know how this applies to this conversation.
"Yes." he says waiting for me to explain my reasoning.
"In your brain, " I tell him," You have little tracks, just like your train tracks and all your messages follow these little tracks."
He smiles and follows my thought.
"Your brother....", I pause," ....well....your brother's messages are not on track. The tracks are broken and the ladies are here to fix them. They know how to fix his tracks and even though they like you...when they come to see us, it's their job to help your brother get his messages back on track...just like when you fix your train tracks. So they cannot spend all their time talking to you."
He begins to draw a similarity to a Thomas the Tank Engine story.
"Yes," I say smiling, "Just like that."
"And someday when his tracks are all fixed,
He will be able to talk with and play with you."
He happily accepts this explanation. From this day forward
He will tell everyone he meets about the ladies that come to his house
That help get his brother's messages on track.
He knows the language of trains.
He knows his brother is getting help
at the tender age of five,
He knows what Autism is...without ever having to mention the name.