The Long View
Sometimes we hit a bump, realize we’re facing a big challenge, and figure, “That’s okay. I’ll work like hell to get past this, and then things will be back to normal.”
In the early days of our son’s autism diagnosis, we—like many other parents—were told that if we worked hard enough, did enough research, and spent enough time and money filling every possible minute with special therapies and diets and learning tools, that our autistic child would “get better” and move on to have a normal life.
Special therapies, diets and learning tools are great. They really are. Truth is, though, most autistic children go on to be autistic adults. Improvements, progress, yes. Being “cured” and “becoming normal,” not so much.
Many who are on the autism spectrum resent the idea that they need to be “fixed.” For high functioning people, that’s an argument they can make, but for severely affected individuals with extreme communication limitations, and related medical conditions such as seizures, gastrointestinal problems and sleep disorders, relief from these challenges and a greater ability to function independently would be welcome.
When our son was three, we were jolted by his diagnosis of having a “speech delay with autistic traits.” By age six, we felt discouraged at the lack of progress in overcoming speech and neurosensory challenges. By age nine, we realized that this was going to be a marathon, not a sprint, and that we had to figure out how to keep running at a pace that wouldn’t kill us.
Long term caregivers have to figure out that balance.
The current health crisis and social upheaval are similar. The world as a community has hit a big bump that initially looked like it couldn’t go on for long, but it is. We are in for a marathon on several fronts, so stop, look out in the distance, and try to enjoy the beauty of the big picture, without letting the in-your-face trauma knock you off your feet.
This week’s Hike Notes are from the archives, Ocean Beach – North End. San Francisco’s Ocean Beach offers sights and sounds that take the edge off city life.
The long list of Hikes can be found on the Quick View Hike List and on the main Hikes page. All past Insights posts can also be viewed in the Insights/Hike Update News archives.
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! Click Insights/Hike Update News for inspiring reflections. Please feel free to share.
This week’s Hike Notes from the Archives:
(Original Hike Notes 22): Ocean Beach - North End
Sharing insights and hiking highlights (Hikes, Hike Search by Area) from the special needs caregiver front in San Francisco.