Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Autism and Inspiration

I don't have a child living with autism, but I imagine that if I did, I would battle moments of "why me" or "why my son." I don't know why some children must endure this adversity, but the following story of a child living with autism inspired me greatly.
A man and his son were swept out to sea off the coast of Florida, and they were forced to tread water for over 12 hours before they were rescued. The boy, 12-years old, is living with autism. When the man was asked how he survived the ordeal, he said that it was his son's attitude that encouraged him. Although the boy is nonverbal, he often responded to his dad's calling, "To infinity" by pumping his fist in the air. The boy has an affinity for Disney movies, and "To infinity and beyond" is a phrase from Toy Story. Additionally, the young boy appeared to be amused at times by their "adventure" in the ocean. 
This story makes me believe that God has a greater plan for this young man. Although autism makes living in our world difficult and overwhelming, the boy's father managed to embrace his son's world which inspired them both to survive.
To see the family's interview on the Today show, check out this link. It is lengthy, but I guarantee you will be inspired by this young man. 
This is also a great plug for swimming lessons. The boy's father stated that his son is a strong swimmer and because of that his son managed to successfully tread water through the night. A child is never too young to establish a healthy and positive relationship with water. As soon as you can enroll your child in swimming lessons, I strongly encourage you to do so. Our local recreation center offers water exposure classes for children as early as 3 months old! 

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