I’ve been reading a lot of stories about the success of many parents who have struggled to communicate with their autistic children. It is heartwarming indeed, to know that their efforts and frustrations have culminated in discovering that their loved one is a fellow human being with something to say, something to learn, something to contribute.  Having the patience, sensitivity and fortitude to allow for a different pace and path of development is as miraculous as the emergence of the buried intelligence.

However, there is no buried intelligence in some individuals; none that will ever be accessible to the rest of us at any rate. This is true unfortunately, of my brother. My father always hoped that he would ‘snap out of it’. Both my parents tried very hard. Nothing ever changed. Were the methodologies available in the 1950s inadequate? Certainly they were. If my brother were born today, would his outcome be different? I doubt it.

I beg to be proven wrong. I wish that there were a way to craft a special key, wave a magic wand or incant a particular phrase that could enable two-way communication with those who are unreachable. When I refer to a ‘buried intelligence’, I am not even talking about a high degree of intelligence. If there is communication, there can be meaningful interaction.

autistic parents and son

Speaking strictly about my own wish to communicate with my brother, the best I can do is to make believe there is a connection. I’m a person who needs verification, so this is tough for me.

4 thoughts on “Unreachable

  1. I think it is one of the most difficult, challenging, sad realizations, to feel you will never connect. I try to think and hope that the disabled person feels and knows I love them, they just can’t respond in kind. I feel the loss, but do they feel the loss? Am I being self absorbed because I don’t get from them what I am looking for? It is a source of grief that is certain.

    • Hi Jill. I agree that it is a very difficult realization to come to. It is heartbreaking to know that one will never be acknowledged in any recognizable way by a family member that one loves. I don’t think that is self absorption in any way. It is an unfulfilled need, pure and simple and a reason for grieving. But if grieving is a healing process, what happens if the source of the injury is still present? Something’s got to give. In my view, Self protection must prevail. Everyone must find their own way of protecting themselves.

      • Yes, self protection must prevail, else we become less than whole if we stay in the deep pit of grief and loss. My experience is that I revisit the grief since the source is still present,but try not to let it consume me. Not sure that the sense of loss will ever totally disappear though, even if the source does.

        • It must be very hard, with the source of grief still present. When someone dies, the bereaved go through a process of missing a loved one. If the loved one is still there, the loss is about unfulfilled expectations, I suppose. For me, I think the trick would be to concentrate on not expecting too much. It takes a lot to be able to do this, I think.

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