Imagine yourself in a world surrounded by textured glass. You can see images on the other side, but they are all distorted. No matter how hard you try to focus, you can’t make sense of anything that you see.
You try to break free, but what you don’t realize is that it’s ballistic glass. It’s extremely difficult to penetrate, so every attempt fails. You’re stuck.
People on the other side of the glass sometimes get a glimpse of you moving, so they stop to peer inside. With curiosity they watch you, and some even call out to you. But like you, they only see a distorted image.
Desperately, they try to get to you. With every tool they find, they try to shatter the glass, but all attempts are met with failure. You’re stuck and they’re powerless.
Trapped alone, you try to make the most of your life. You learn to find pleasure and joy in the few items around you. That is your home. Some may call it your prison.
With persistence, the people on the other side continue striking the glass. They never give up hope, bringing new tools day after day. They wait. They watch. They hope.
Years pass. A tiny crack finally begins to appear in the glass. Slowly the crack grows and widens, until a small hole is formed.
You look through the hole and are amazed by what you see. Even though you don’t know what the images are, they are clear. For the first time, you can see to the other side!
The people rush around the glass, each of them taking a turn to look inside. Smiles fill their faces. After all those years, and although the hole is small, they can see you. Finally.
The glass continues to break apart a little more each day, and with every new break your view broadens. Everything is unfamiliar and overwhelming, but slowly you begin to emerge from the other side of the glass.
The people can sense your hesitance, so not wanting to frighten you, they gently offer their hand and gradually help you to emerge.
Everything on the other side of the glass is peculiar and difficult to understand; the language, expressions, the people. It’s all new to you, and even though the people have seen your image through the glass, you are also new to them.
It will take time to figure it all out, but you are no longer trapped behind the textured glass. You are free.
This is a journey. My son’s journey. A journey called Autism.