When my Grandson was diagnosed with Autism two years ago I didn’t really grasp the reality of Autism or even understand what it was. All I knew, Brady was a strange little boy that wouldn’t or couldn’t talk at 3 years of age, wasn’t potty trained and wouldn’t play with the other kids. None of our family had ever been around an Autistic, that we knew of, but we had seen “Rainman” and I guess, at least for me I thought that is what Autism was.
Well over the last two years I must admit I haven’t been very engaged in the struggles that my son and daughter-in-law went through while dealing with this. They live about 500 miles away from us and even though I speak with my son 3 or 4 times a week and he doesn’t complain, it was out of site out of mind for me. When I did go and visit we interacted with Brady at the family get together but for just a few hours at a time. It wasn’t until our visit this past week that we had the opportunity to visit Brady at his school. This was a life changer for me.
It’s really strange the way God works in our lives. I met Temple Grandin back in 1982 right after I became manager of Red River Feed-yard in Stanfield Arizona, formerly owned by John Wayne and Louis Johnson. She was, I believe a Grad student at ASU then and a couple years prior to my coming to Red River, Temple had designed the cattle handing facility there. Her design was completely different than anything ever built before, she was cutting edge. Along with her tremendous grasp of how cattle think, which I admired because not many people have that gift and I do as well so I liked her. I thought she was very interesting but I also thought she was very weird as well. The reason I bring this up is one of Brady’s teachers mentioned to my son and me about Temple and I was taken aback that she was Autistic, I had no idea. I guess I thought she should have some sort of sign on her shirt letting the World know, HEH, I’m Autistic. I then found out a movie had been made about her life, she is a best selling author, and an animal and Autism advocate.
Second, I just started reading Napoleon Hill’s book “Think and Grow Rich”. In the first Chapter I was touched by his son being born without ears and how he refused to let him believe that he had a disability. His son grew up never letting his lack of hearing keep him from success. Thanks to his Father’s determination when he was little.
I now have a whole new insight about my responsibility to my grandson. He doesn’t have a disability he has a special talent and I’m committed to him to help him develop that talent to the fullest. Just like Temple Grandin. I tell you all this because there are events and people in every ones life that is a game changer and this is one for me.