Our friends at Autism File magazine gave us permission to print part of this article about Josh Edwards, in the UK. (See the full article with photos HERE.) I chose to run it in poem format. It almost feels like an elegy, although of course, it is not.
I am Josh
I am Josh. I was born on the day I was due, December 13, 1992 -
and a little bruiser I was, said the nurses. I was a robust 8 pounds
11 ounces, chunky and muscular. I breastfed well and thrived.
After 6 weeks, I went on the bottle. I was
such a happy baby, always smiling and very
content, says Mum. I played peek-a-boo
and pat-a-cake with Brother. Everybody
gave me cuddles and I gave them back.
I sat at 6 months old. I walked at 11 months old and weighed 25
pounds. I could say “Mama,”“Dada,”“ta” [thank you], “gone,”“juice,”
and “bye.” I love bath time! I splash and play with my brother and the bath toys.
I am a strapping lad! |
It’s January 1994; I’m 13 months old. Off to the
doctor for my MMR! Tonight I have a high fever.
I don’t feel so well in the morning, with severe
diarrhea leaking through my clothes and onto
my bedding. My stool is bright yellow, runny,
and then like oxtail soup. Can you imagine?
This went on for 5 days, and then I stopped “going” so
much . . . Mum says “constipated.” I used to poop
every day before the MMR, sometimes twice a day.
I’m so sorry, Mum, I don’t know what is
happening. I am miserable and upset.
I’m sorry that I scream and cry and nobody can figure out why.
Please don’t pick me up, please don’t cuddle me - I can’t stand it!
I don’t like being touched anymore.
I am Josh. I am obsessed with light switches,
climbing on chairs and tables to get to them,
turning the light on and off. It is the same with door
handles and opening and closing doors. I engage
in repetitive behavior. I hate eye contact and ignore
the cameras that I used to “ham it up” for.
I am scared to go outdoors, screaming when
Mum puts on her coat. I tantrum and become a
prisoner in my own home. But I am a prisoner in my
own body. I am Josh.
I’m about 15 months old. Six weeks since
my MMR vaccine, and I haven’t verbalized a bit
of language for at least 2 weeks. I’m not even
trying. I used to sit on the potty, but I don’t seem
to remember what it is for. I used to sleep well,
sleeping through the night from 6 weeks old. Now
I am Josh at 18 months old. I have poor behavior,
poor interaction, little eye contact and a total loss
with my screams. I am only pooping once a week.
I stand and spin and spin and flap my hands.
(Read the full article with photos HERE.)