When Professionals Say Give Up


My son has the ability to do whatever he sets his mind to do. I believe that we all do. Only with him, there’s a lot more pushing than there is success. For 16 years I’ve been trying to help him with his speech, not only at home but also through therapists at school, social groups and by enlisting the help of his peers.

Unfortunately, it all seems like an uphill battle most of the time. His little bouts of improvement last a day, two at most, before we find ourselves back at square one. But we don’t give up, or at least I don’t. Although he says that he wants to get better, I’m positive that he’d love nothing more than to throw in the towel and call it quits.

I’d probably let him do it too, if I believed that he was lacking the ability. But, I’ve heard him speak and he talks to me, so I know that he can. So what stops him from talking to others or from trying to improve? He says, “fear of not knowing what to say,” but even when I give him the words he still chooses the silent route.

It’s frustrating because I know that the ability is within him. I’m just at a loss of how to pull it out.

Go ask the professionals…

We’ve done that. His teachers, who I’ve pleaded with to push him, are seemingly settled on the idea of, “Some people with Autism are just quiet and will always struggle with speech and there’s really nothing you can do about it.” So instead of pushing him toward success, they’re letting him stay right where he’s at.

Therapists aren’t much better. After weeks of after school group therapy sessions, I’m told “I suggest that you find activities that he could do with a friend where the language expectation will be less.”

When my son was a toddler, the professionals told me that he would never speak, write or read, and that one day he would be placed into a group home for those with disabilities. They were wrong. He does speak (not well, but he does), he reads and he writes.

So now, again, all of these professionals are telling me, “That’s just the way he is,” and I refuse to believe them. It seems to me that it’s easier for them to just let these kids ‘waste away’ than it is for them to truly help them.

It wasn’t too many years ago, when people with disabilities were getting placed into mental hospitals left and right. That was what was expected. Improvement? Impossible. Just hide them from the world and let them live out their life behind closed doors.

Although this is happening less frequently, I feel that in some ways we’ve not come as far as we think. If we have, then why are all of these professionals practically telling me to give up?

“He’s just quiet” – he is. They’re right. But, he has dreams and goals for his future, that with communication, he could achieve a whole lot easier. I just want my son to have all that his heart desires.

What I don’t want is for his entire life to be summed up by what he’s done within the four walls of a house. He deserves a good and fulfilling life just like the rest of us and it is my mission to help him obtain that…regardless of what the professionals say.


This entry was posted in Autism - Within the Walls, Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to When Professionals Say Give Up

  1. aviets says:

    How hard this must be. Keep fighting.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Deb says:

    I hope it gets easier…I know it will in time. Thanks for sharing.


  3. I can’t even begin to imagine the frustration, and despair, that has to come along with this. I am sure it can wear you out having to consistently be his advocate for a better future, but he is your kid, and you know him best, and I’ll take your mom opinion over the professionals any day!


  4. I know they try to help, and they get stuck into only knowing what they know. I guess a big part of that is trying not to get people’s hopes up? Like they do a biopsy and never SAY cancer, even if they know damn well that is something they are looking for. But that’s maybe me just being hopeful.
    More of me being hopeful: Will he sing? Read poetry or even Dr Seuss (don’t laugh, I still love Seuss, and Shel Silverstein!) Would he like silly word games like puns? Would talking to people with different accents be helpful, or a distraction? Is talking in person harder than talking over the phone? Excercising the talking muscle seems to be the way to go, how can I help?


    • mewhoami says:

      Thank you so much for this. I read this a few days ago, but haven’t been able to respond till now. It’s funny though – the same day I read this, I had just thought about maybe making him sing. Singing is a great vocal exercise. He hates to sing (because of his speech struggles), but if I present it in terms of therapy, he may actually give it a try. I think you’re onto something here. It may not necessarily be his words that need the most help, it’s his talking muscles.


  5. YOU are the professional in this.


  6. amommasview says:

    Keep it up. There are so many stories about what professionals said and then they were proved wrong. Listen to yourself and what you believe in and follow your instinct. Here’s a huge hug for you!


  7. April says:

    I can only imagine how hard this must be for you. The professionals and teachers should be treating the individual, not what they don’t want to *deal* with. Keep fighting!


  8. reocochran says:

    Very thought provoking post, April. I may have read one thing referring to this communication challenge for him but I appreciate what you are talking about. Was he in early intervention home visits or preschool? I used to teach 1-3 year old’s with home visits accompanied by therapies. I spent 9 years in either early intervention or integrated learning preachool. Music, sing song language patterns helped a few of my past students. I made up songs as transitions were hard for some.”We’re going to the bus ( or gym) . . . Hi ho the dairy-O.” One of my favorite books about something which reached a young man on the spectrum is about Disney animated films being an impetus for speech and even teaching others using media resources. I like Temple Grandin’s story (played by Claire Danes) in the movie category a few years back for reaching others. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ in the film, her mother reaches her through flash picture cards. She got her PhD and is known for highly specific engineering projects fir humane slaughter of cattle.
    Each story is individual to the person’s personality. Hoping you find the key to opening your son’s world.


    • mewhoami says:

      I like Temple Grandin’s life story as well. She came a long way in her life and shows that anything is possible. I’ve learned though that not everyone can be expected to make those same improvements – as, like you said, everyone is different. My son had early intervention beginning at 2 1/2. He went to preschool two years early and had therapists come to the home. He’s had tons of therapy at school and through various programs – not enough though, I’m afraid. I always wished that we had 6 months straight where we could hide away in the mountains and do 14 hours straight therapy every single day…hoping that it would help. Unfortunately, those kinds of resources aren’t available (and my son would hate me – haha), but it sure sounds nice. I’m going to try singing again, as it’s been years since we’ve tried that (he was very unwilling back then). Thank you very much for you comment and suggestions!


  9. reocochran says:

    Oops, I had just read April’s comment and accidentally put her name here. I do this with my kids ALL the time. Lol
    So sorry, hope you will still know I meant this to be about your son and the whole time wrote as many ideas as I could. . . I care and hope something I said will resonate. Smiles, Robin


    • mewhoami says:

      It is no problem at all. I’ve done this same thing before. I do, very much, appreciate the ideas that you gave and we will try (or retry) them to see if any improvements are seen. All I know, is that I’m not giving up. Thank you, again!


  10. Pingback: My Picks Of The Week #52 | A Momma's View

  11. I am sorry if this is a bizare suggestion but what about the possibility of trying to find a mentor for him. A young man, not a lot older but working perhaps, someone that he can consider a peer. That he can hang out with and see that he can do that too. Is there a Big Brother type program within the Autistic Community? If not maybe there should be. I think it might be more of a help than a Doctor that basically tells you to quit on your son. That is never an option.


Please share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s