Mars By Cyndi Kershner

Maybe having a child with special needs is like landing in Holland.
In my experience, having a child on the autism spectrum is like
landing on Mars.

Welcome to Mars.

Your family was recruited by the government to participate in
groundbreaking new research about life on other planets. You were
initially very excited about the trip, convinced you were doing the
right thing to be of service to your country.

You were told your trip would be extremely safe, and that there was
lots of research to back that up. In fact, try as they might, the
government could find nothing unsafe about traveling to Mars, and
their research even pointed to the fact that the trip could be
beneficial to the health and well-being of your family! Nothing to
worry about!

Once you get to Mars, you realize this was not at all what you were
led to believe back on Earth. The atmosphere is toxic and the provided
spacesuits do not give you sufficient protection from the dangers.

There is nothing your child can eat on Mars, even though the
government told you there would be. You are stuck trying to make the
best of the emergency rations , and you and your family miss the way
you used to eat.

For some reason the trip to Mars has rendered your child mute, and he
is acting really funny as well…he keeps flapping his hands. The
government sure didn't warn you about this.

You and your fellow travelers were given a two-way radio with which to
communicate with Earth. When you get to Mars you call your contacts
on Earth to explain how badly things are going, and they tell you from
the pictures you have sent and what they can observe through the video
logs, everything looks fine. Your child looks very healthy and happy!
You ask about the hand flapping and are told it's a harmless
by-product of space travel ,and he'll get over it soon.

You begin to mistrust the government's intentions in sending your
family to Mars, and you talk to your fellow travelers , whose children
are by and large acting the same way. They too have begun to mistrust
the government's intentions, and you begin to form close bonds with
them, helping each other figure out how to best help your children.

You realize that your connections to the Earth at this point are
getting tenious. You hear through your contacts that people on Earth
are beginning to think badly of you because you have questioned the
government's intentions. Even your family and friends are not treating
you the same anymore.

Eventually, after much heartache and feelings of disillusionment, you
and your fellow travelers band together to support one another in
helping the children and creating the best life on Mars possible,
because all the communication devices have broken, and you all think
you won't be heading back to Earth anytime soon.

Welcome to Mars.

Cyndi Kershner is the mother of a twelve year old son recovering from autism.
She is training to be a yoga therapist and teacher, and lives in Seattle ,WA.
She volunteers with Autism Resources and Recovery of WA and is a Rescue Angel.


Pat Bailey

My son was diagnosed with infantile autism shortly after receiving the MMR, the medical group where he received his MMR disbanded and parents were left with the damage child the MMR produced.
Today my son is fully recovered, but still making progress in spite of the gauntlet of experts (who claimed his future was doomed by a genetic condition). Autism was not a persistent diagnosis in our family history (EVER). My son finished out high school high honors and inducted into the National Honor Society.
He finished out 5 years in the Civil Air Patrol as a cadet 2nd Lieutenant placing him in about the top 14 percent of cadets nationwide and was trained in emergency service/search and rescue. He also flew Cessna aircraft at about 3,500 feet (dispelling the expert’s opinion that he would not like to try new things or change situation without having an emotional breakdown.
My son is an accomplished poet and photographer and loves people as a whole (extremely social and has a great sense of humor, though be it sometimes a bit representative of a shop humor), that's right, I forgot. My son has recently completed two years in a shop environment with the steel industry, where he makes about $40,000 a year at present, owns and drives his own car. He's been driving since he was 16 years old and is an excellent defensive driver.
My son was removed from all the usual services recommended by the local experts in school and the local intermediate unit for a three county region. He attended cyber school and dad stayed home for both he and his younger brother. Both boys finished school with high honors and the national honor society and both were promoted to cadet 2nd Lieutenants in the Civil Air Patrol; both played football, fish, drive cars they bought and both have jobs in industry.
Am I an expert after over 15 years of raising my sons on my own? Not really, but I will enjoy two very delightful young men this Daddy's Day free of the experts opinions and influence. I relied on a biblical approach, because I know our Big Daddy is in control, so I depend soulfully on His advice to direct my path as a parent. It works, but you have to let go and commit to His promises.
By the way, I have met Dr. Minshew and emailed her myself, I have found her to be helpful as a person of great conviction in her expertise. We need the trained professionals to enlighten us as parents, though their training and experience my not always apply to our personal situations they do share some interesting information and it is the information researched by the parent that finds the answers we’re looking for in our quest to find healing for our loved ones.
My best advice as a parent who ran the race, the prize is still to come, but you have to first commit to our Big Daddy’s advice in the bible and through His spiritual coaxing and a search of all the information you can find (good or bad) you’ll find the answer for your loved one. Relax… it’s often more than not a long haul, but your first commitment is to your child, the gift given to you and they are a magnificent and wonderful gift made in their Big Daddy’s image, so who would know them better.


Oh but Cyndi, dontcha know it's for the greater good of the herd?
Great post!


Cyndi, that was so funny and dead on accurate at the same time. Loved this post!


You capture well the disconnect between what is told and what is the reality. Damage control is cheap, and damage repair is expensive. Planets spin, and so do bureaucrats.



I loved your post! So dead on. The only problem is, if things continue the way they are on Earth, Mars will become very crowded and the services on Mars are going to become very scarce and very expensive (they already are). We need to reclaim our Earth. Thanks for a great story.


All done

"Welcome to Mars."

Cyndi, very nicely written story. And we know there must be a sequel. And we also know that sequels are never as good as the original story (barring a few exceptions). Therefore, sometimes its better to stop the story right there. The end.


Cyndi - that's why we should all eat at least one Mars Bar every day. Chocolate is good for the soul. Nice post!


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