This is a poem I wrote when my son was first diagnosed, and part of the collection in my book, Autism Disrupted: A Mother's Journey of Hope. I often use this poem when working with parents to inspire them to write their own poem to whatever label their child has been given. Talk to it, describe how it has entered your life, your family. This is part of our healing- to allow our voices to put it into words and onto the page.
Autism knocked on my door
in the middle of a life
I thought was under my control,
and settled in comfortably
behind the eyes of my two year-old son.
I am trying to get to know this condition,
to observe its daily needs,
to chart the frustrations, ecstasies,
and windows of possible change.
It swept through my house
and cleared away
all fantasies, pictures and maps
of the family
I was supposed to have.
Its luggage was heavy,
loaded with old stories,
fat with fear.
Autism leaves things lying around
ready to trip me
just as I begin to walk again.
Jennie Linthorst, MA, CAPF, is a therapeutic writing coach and the founder of LifeSPEAKS Poetry Therapy. She works privately with men and women helping them tell their stories and heal, through reading and writing poetry and personal essays. Jennie coaches clients all across the country and around the world via phone, Skype, e-mail, in addition to in person meetings. She is the author of a book of poems, Autism Disrupted: A Mother's Journey of Hope. Her family’s story is captured in the award-winning documentary film, “Autistic-Like: Graham’s Story”.