Extreme life challenges can make anyone feel isolated. As a mom trying to help my severely autistic son have a happy, healthy life, I sometimes feel like I’m climbing up a steep, endless mountain alone.
But I’m not. My husband, our older son, extended family, and many beloved friends and community members have walked together on our path, sharing joys and struggles.
HikingAutism readers may have read previous posts about our son Sean’s “autism whisperer.” (In Memory and Thanks) He was a gifted teacher’s aide, about to become a special ed classroom teacher. He worked with Sean on indoor activities to build social skills. He was a devoted outdoor activity companion.
After his passing, new key figures came into our son’s life. An engaging teacher’s aide. A dedicated special ed classroom teacher. An insightful indoor activity helper. A determined outdoor activity guide. These and many other treasured helpers have made our son’s life better over the years.
Though I sit alone at my desk producing it, HikingAutism is built on collective experiences with others who share part of our son’s journey. Though I take almost all the photos on HikingAutism (other than from World Walks contributors), I can’t take the ones that I appear in. Our intrepid hiking buddy/outdoor helper has captured some poignant photos over the years. I hand him my camera to get a few shots of Sean and me together, and sometimes a bit of magic comes back. Some of his photos that capture mother and son joy on the trail are now web page title images.
Speaking of creating a helpful community, Journeys podcast hosts Mark Desa and Krystal Schulze work hard to make those in the disabilities community feel more connected. Check out my discussion with them in their Guest Updates series where we talk about many topics, including isolation. (Listen to earlier interviews under Media.)
Thanks to everyone for the kind words about the designs (by Sean’s big brother, a graphic designer) on the newly added Support/Shop page and HikingAutism Printify Pop Up Shop page.
I value independence but am also grateful not to walk the path of life alone. Thanks to all the people who share the journey with our son and family.
This week’s HikingAutism Hike Notes from the archives is Point Bonita Lighthouse, a striking place during the day, but also a stunning place to watch the sun set.
This week’s Hike Notes from the Archives:
(Original Hike Notes 13): Point Bonita Lighthouse
Click Insights/Hike Update News for inspiring reflections. Browse hikes on the main Hikes page or on the Hike Search by Area page. Check out selected articles and interviews under Media. Click World Walks to see or share favorite family-friendly walks! Stay in touch with Lisa Louis and HikingAutism via Contact. See products with inspiring designs that support the efforts of HikingAutism under Support/Shop. The Links page lists a loose collection of helpful information links.
Check the Home page for the broader background story. If you’re not able to take one of these Northern California hikes, hopefully you can enjoy the photo galleries at the bottom of each hike page! Feel free to share and follow on Facebook at HikingAutism, follow on Twitter at @HikingAutism and Instagram at lisalouis777
Sharing insights and hiking highlights (Hikes, Hike Search by Area) from the special needs caregiver front in San Francisco.