Autism and Asperger Articles, Bill Stillman, Award-Winning Author

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Demystifying Autism From The Inside Out

Reclaiming my Son’s Trust

By Robert F.

I want to thank you once again for the life-changing experience that you facilitated last week. Our son is a bright and sensitive eight-year old diagnosed with PDD NOS. My wife and I believe that our role as parents is to help our child to find his passion. I teach martial arts to people of all ages and abilities. I have seen many children on the spectrum excel at martial arts and gain self confidence and self-control. Our son has no interest. He came with me for about a year but now always looks for an excuse so I stopped asking him to come. I try to be careful not to push, even though I believe it is good for him.

Our home is blessed with hundreds of books yet he does not read. I play drums, and we own a guitar and keyboards. He doesn't want to play music. I watch sports on TV when I can. Our son "hates sports." I tell him that he can't hate ALL sports. He doesn't know the rules. Give me one inning of baseball, one quarter of football, or one period of hockey. Maybe he will find one he likes to play or watch. We so much want him to find something, anything that is HIS. At times he seems so caught up in his own world of self-stimulating behavior and Batman videos.

Lately, he has been particularly "mean" to me around the house. We tried punishment, then "active ignoring" assuming he is seeking attention. When I ask him why he says the things he does, he says, "Dad, I love you but sometimes my brain hates you." We are trying to understand why with the help of a wonderful and highly respected therapist.

Following the information gleaned from Day One of your session, that night, I sat across the living room from my son and said, "Son, sometimes grown-ups make mistakes. They are mistakes because we don't realize we are doing something wrong at the time. But I learned today that I was doing something wrong with you, and I want to tell you I am sorry. Sometimes I try too hard to get you to try new things because I think you should. I so much want you to find something you like to do. I promise you that I will try much harder to be patient with you and do my very best to understand what is most important to you. Will you please forgive me?"

He paused. He processed for about 10 seconds and we both sat in silence. Without warning he ran into my arms and hugged me with all his strength. Through my tears I said repeatedly, "I am so sorry." He let go, and kissed me smack on the lips for what seemed like an eternity. I never saw such a show of emotion from him. I honestly had no idea what I was doing to him inside. We were treating his "behaviors" and all the time he was communicating something but neither he nor I could identify it.

This was one week ago. It's nice to walk downstairs in the morning and say "Good morning son" and not hear "Good morning idiot." Let's face it, I can ignore it and try not to take those comments personally assuming he is trying to get a rise out of me. However, that is not a pleasant way to live. He still has challenges. He always will. Me too. Thanks to you, my son AND his brain BOTH know that I love him, and that I am human, and that being a man sometimes means admitting mistakes and saying "I am sorry" when you should. What a great lesson for any kid! Thank you, Bill.

Special Note: Robert has given Bill permission to release his phone number to anyone interested in learning more about the transformation that occurred within his family. Contact:

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