A mother of an
autistic son realizes how important a positive
attitude can be.
I remember when we
achieved the American dream. It was in 1972 and
the group that my husband sang with finally had
their first hit record. All the hard work and
sacrifice had paid off. We felt like we had
gotten our reward.
Though life became
a series of shopping, traveling and parties, we
also gave to charities and helped friends in
need. I felt that God had blessed us and there
wasn't a problem we couldn't solve.
We decided to have
another baby, the first one we could afford.
This child would have advantages that our older
children did not have. This was to be our first
Our son was born
in July, 1975. We were all excited about the new
addition to the family and he was greatly loved.
On his first birthday, I said, "We are over the
hump. We have another heal! thy, well adjusted
child." I breathed a sigh of relief.
That was my last
sigh of relief about him. He started losing the
gains he had made. He was angry and destructive.
He didn't sleep nights and began screaming all
the time. He was diagnosed with autism.
I first decided to
find a doctor who would cure him. Then I
discovered that there was no cure. He was
destroying the house and me, so I looked for a
facility for "people like him." I went from
doctor to doctor and they all sent me back home
with my son.
One day I thought,
nobody wants my son. A little voice
said, "Not even you." What a revelation! If I
did not want him, who would? I was so exhausted
and depressed that I did not know how to care
for him. I could not do it.
Then came my great
moment! Another parent of an autistic child gave
me a copy of Norman Vincent Peale's booklet,
Thought Conditioners. Dr. Peale said that
you could ch! ange your life by changing your
attitude, that attitude was mo! re impor tant
than facts. Could this be true? I
wondered, How do I change my attitude about my
I read Thought
Conditioners faithfully, over and over and
over again. I read The Power of Positive
Thinking by Dr. Peale over and over. I
started learning all I could about my son's
disability. I became an advocate for people with
disabilities in our state.
My son could not
speak, so I learned to speak to him and others
like him. I went back to college and became a
special education teacher. God had not cured my
son, but He had cured me.
I continue to read
Dr. Peale's books and booklets, but Thought
Conditioners is the one that saved my
sanity and helped me to be a mother to a
difficult son. He is still difficult and
unpredictable. He is now 29 years old, and I
love him for the person he is instead of the
person I wanted him to be.
Attitude is more
important than facts.
Dr. Peale was rig!
ht when he wrote that by changing your mind you
can change anything. Thank you Dr. Peale, for
guiding me when everything looked hopeless.