August 27, 2009


When I first told one of my best friends that Moe likely had autism, she told me a story. Imagine you are planning a trip to Italy, she said. You plan the travel, read the guide books, carefully pack. You even learn some of the language. You are ready. But when you get off the plane, you are in Japan. Japan is lovely. You've always wanted to go to Japan. But it wasn't what you were expecting.

It turns out that this is a variation on what I now know to be a very well known essay about life with special needs kids called "Welcome to Holland." You can read the full text here.

Recently, I saw a similar essay, called "Welcome to Beirut." Click here to read it. Go ahead, I'll wait. Great. This is a much tougher version of events, and in some ways feels more accurate: full of anger, fear, and confusion.

So which is it? Are we on vacation or at war? Did we take a different fork in the road and just need some time to acclimate? Or did we land in the middle of a war we never asked for in the first place? I suspect, it is a little of both. Right now, I think I identify a little bit more with Beirut. I feel valuable time ticking away. I want out! I don't know where to turn, which enemy to battle first.

On the other hand, we're doing pretty well. We've managed our first set of changes with the regional center. The approvals have gone through and we're scheduling the speech and OT. And through all of it, Moe is improving. He is starting to use words. He is engaging more, even if just a little bit. And let's not forget Jelly Belly. She looks at Moe like he is the coolest thing ever! Like a windmill. Or a tulip.

Photo from fhisa. See original photo on flikr.


  1. I always thought "Welcome to Holland" was a bit cloying, if potentially useful... but I also think that you we can expect far better than a life in a war zone for you and your family. You are doing everything right and Wesley is doing his part too! Hang in there and keep on keeping us posted. Be optimistic - it was wonderful to share some joint attention to a toy with Wesley on Monday, and to see him look up and meet my eyes when I said his name.

  2. Jen,
    Love your blog! You are doing everything right for Wesley right now. I have worked with many many kids who were on the spectrum over the years, and most had received early intervention, just like Wesley. These kids did great in school, and most of the time you would never even know there were issues. Keep your chin up and keep doing what you're doing!!


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