Don’t give up dad!

I’ll be the first to admit, that sounds like a sentimental Hollywood line.

When hearing it at bedside from your barely verbal 6-year-old son, after a particularly difficult day filled with the anxieties of one sensory melt down after the other, it cuts right to the bone.

For a diagnosed autistic kid with a tested IQ of 55, that piece of communication displayed a very clear understanding of the situation. It was Rover’s lucid response to my comment “It must have been a difficult day for you”.

His sentence had many layers of meaning but to me it mostly said:  I know it’s also tough on you, but I need your help. It was the first time in his life he had used language in such adequate fashion. I felt my throat tighten instantly.

The mission of ART is to fund cutting-edge autism research so we can constantly improve our understanding of this complex condition. Only with answers can we move forward with effective help and interventions. In this way the ACE, with research at its core, is an initiative that brings together the best support and science for people on and alongside the spectrum. The aim is simple, to improve lives. For kids like Rover and his parents this means the prospect of having a place to go for life-long support. It’s hard to put into words how much that is welcomed.

Don’t give up dad!

As Hollywood this little bed-side conversation started, it also ended. After a few deep breaths, I was able to mumble “Never – Rover” and tucked him in.

Robert Verwaayen, ART trustee and father of Rover