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Thoughts on my boy September 18, 2007

Posted by grimmeister in The spectrum.

So, there I am, feeling alright with the world, having enjoyed a dinner prepared by my wife, who was feeling rather amused by her ‘clumsy day’ – I watched her drop all sorts of things and then stub her toe on a wall. I was sitting outside in the inky Johannesburg early summer evening (which is a truly marvelous thing indeed), listening to the crickets and other nocturnal insects and generally reflecting on my day. I was thinking about all the fun I had just had with my 4 year old lad, Connor J. He was having a complete hoot in his tyre swing, leaning back to watch the trees and then catching me out when I stopped singing nonsense rhymes to him. I could hardly prise him off the swing to go and take his bath, which he just loves having. We spent bathtime catching the little glittery clams, dolphins, whales, stars and tortoises that are mixed in with the bubble-bath. At dinner, Connor tried – unsuccesfully of course – to scrounge more tomato sauce for his chips before getting ants-in-his-pants, relievable only by getting down from the dinner table, naturally. Later, we had a session playing minesweep and some of the excellent childsplay games (I am convinced Connor is learning to type!) on the computer. Connor eventually drifted off to sleep after humming a couple of tunes to himself.

My mind somehow cast itself back to a time when we were still pregnant with Connor and went to a talk on vaccinations delivered by a cranio-sacral therapist guy. Now, the audience was hanging onto this fellah’s every word as if he actually knew what he was talking about. The medical doctor invited to give an ‘establishment’ view stuck out like a sore thumb, looking a bit sheepish in the face of the diatribe against vaccines. He tried pretty hard when his turn came to convince the audience that vaccinations are actually a *good thing*, but the audience generally was not listening, prefering instead to get sucked into the whirl of anecdotes, pseudo-science and assorted claptrap that the melodramatic altie therapist was spewing forth. I realise now that he was laying on a thick story that ultimately played to peoples fears of vaccines causing developmental delays and disturbances in their children and how these evil conditions can be avoided if only we bravely rebel against vaccines.

My thoughts swung back to Connor. He has only recently started his vaccination program and it seems to be going just fine. The thing is, well, Connor is autistic and epileptic and has been from his time in the womb, I am sure. If I were to be honest with myself, I would say that I was influenced by the cranio-sacral chappie a bit, but ultimately we did the right thing by holding off on the vaccines – we just did not know what we were dealing with in terms of Connor. But that is not my point. Rather, I was wondering to myself why people resort to scaremongering around things like autism. Why is it that people would prefer not to have children like my astonishing Connor J around?




1. Shelley Olivier - September 27, 2007

Hi Graeme

Shell here, we have kind of lost touch with each other but i often hear the ESSA crowd talk of you. In fact – the last i heard was that you and your wife have devoted your lives to Connor and how they admire you for it. I also do – he is privileged to have parents like you. I am sure that he will be proud and grateful one day. I believe very much in the whole circle of life.

Anyway – i am tutoring and i have heard many kids and parents that are ADHD say they would not want to change who they are. They don’t want to go for the therapy that will change them – they want to be who they are. I thought that was interesting – we so often want to change things that don’t fit into the ‘norm’ – but then what is ‘norm’? Sounds like you are being amazing parents! It will be Connor’s wish too!

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