Wednesday, July 15, 2009

She writes to escape from reality

I want to blog today but I don't know what I should write.
This is a story I wrote for English in Year 9 and I received $300 for it in some writing competition (alright I should stop BRAGGING now haha) Enjoy ;) ;)

You do not need to know my name.
My name is not important.
He is the one you should know about.
Adam is his name.
He is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
He lives in “his own world”.
He does not like noise.
He does not communicate or interact with people much.
He talks to himself.
He repeats words.
He has one-to-one therapies with Dr McPherson three times a week since he was 4.
And he is now 12.
He attends social skills training twice a week.
However these do not seem to do any good.
But I am not giving up. Not on him.

There is something about him that you should know before you judge him.
Physically, he is almost a perfect child. He has cupid lips and a shy half-smile, skin the colour of a ripe peach. He is lovely beyond imagination.
He likes art. He is good at drawing, gifted in music. He excels in measuring and counting. Memory games are his favourite. And he always wins.
He is interested in stars and galaxies and marine animals, especially dolphins.

Every evening, I would find him lying on his stomach in his bedroom, drawing. Tonight he is doing something different; he is staring at the piece of paper he was holding for the whole day, he refused to show me what it is. I became annoyed and I slammed his bedroom door and ran off and cried my eyes out.

Next day.
This morning when we were sitting quietly, eating pancakes for breakfast, I noticed a crumpled piece of paper in Adam’s pocket. I gathered that was what he was holding yesterday.

As carefully as I could, I unfolded it, to my surprise it was a permission form. An excursion to the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary.

Is it safe to let him go? Who is going to take care of him? What if he gets into trouble? What if he gets teased? What if he gets lost in the crowd? What if…?

Oh God, there is just too much that I have to think about.

The day after.
Today I rang Mr Schiller, the teacher who is in charge of the excursion, and explained to him my concerns. He said he understood that assistance is required for Adam, therefore I am welcome to go with them if I wish to.

I will go along with Adam. He needs me.
Hopefully the trip will do some good for him.

7 days until the excursion.
In the past few days, Adam has been drawing pictures of dolphins, lots of them.
Pictures of dolphins leaping, chasing fish, swimming freely…
There was one that caught my eyes. A picture of three dolphins. A cub with its parents. A family, something he does not have. He was abandoned by his parents outside a church when he was only about a week old. Although I took care of him all his life, I always feel that there is a wall between us. I know he feels the same. Maybe that’s why he never shows affection towards me.

4 days until the excursion.
Today, I joined Adam’s therapy session with Dr. McPherson to see how he was progressing. He did not do particularly well. I was a bit a disappointed. Maybe I expected too much from him.

I wish that taking care of him was only an occupation, and that I could quit the job anytime, whenever I want.

1 day until the excursion.
They held a meeting about the excursion today, to confirm who is going, and the plans for the trip. I volunteered to make lunch for the kids (and supervising Adam). Tomorrow will be a great day, I hope.

The excursion.
Waking up at 4 o’clock in the morning to make lunch for the kids. By 8 o’clock I was already exhausted. Adam came to the kitchen, opened the fridge, and poured milk straight to the floor. And what upset me the most was that he did not seem to notice my existence.

In the car on the way to school to meet the group, Adam was very quiet. He counted cars that passed us every time we waited for the traffic light to turn green. By the time we arrived school, we were very late. All because of the traffic jam. Ugh.

We were the last ones to get into the bus hired for the excursion. The group sang, they giggled, they laughed, and they ate on the way to the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary. But Adam was wandering in his own world; fiddling with his fingers restlessly.

Finally there we were at the entrance of the dolphin’s sanctuary. The kids hopped off the bus excitedly; Adam, however did not seem to have noticed that we had arrived. Maybe he HAD noticed, but didn’t want to get off? About half an hour later, I somehow managed to get him out of the bus.

We were all listening attentively and quietly as one of the staff members talked to us about dolphins, so was Adam.

Then it was time to have close contacts with the dolphins. The kids were lined up in a queue waiting for their turn. Adam was the last one in the line. I could tell that Adam could hardly contain the excitement. He stomped the ground as hard as he could. Out of the corner of my eye I saw other people watching us. I stared them back. Gradually they turned away as I tried to calm him down. Finally he got his turn.

The dolphin rested its beak on Adam’s left arm. Adam didn’t push it away; in fact, he patted it with his right hand. This was the first time I saw him show affection to anything or anyone.

I was glad, but at the same time, I felt hurt as it seemed like the dolphin meant more to him than me.

5 days after the excursion.
Today during the therapy session with Dr McPherson, I told him about how Adam responded when the dolphin put its beak on his arm. Dr. McPherson said it was a good sign.

1 week after the excursion.
Today as I was ironing my clothes, Adam appeared from the back soundlessly. Shyly, he handed me a picture he drew, a mother dolphin swimming with her cub under the deep sea.

I wrapped my arms around him and warm tears flew down from my eyes, and trickled down my face. In the past, I had tried to hug him, but he always rejected me. But this time he didn’t.