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Autism’s What If

By  Cathy Jameson

Each night before the kids’ bedtime, we gather in Ronan’s room to say family prayers.  We go around individually with our own prayer requests.  The kids have had the same general prayer request for years:  for Ronan to be able to communicate.  Over time, that simple request has evolved.  They now have more specific intentions:  for Ronan to get his words back, for him to use his words, for him to be able to verbally communicate, and for him to have a meaningful verbal conversation with us.  Since Ronan had speech at one point in his life, we remain hopeful that it will one day return. 

Bedtime should be quiet time but it actually turns into the best time for the kids to communicate with their non-verbal brother.  Before the whole family has pig-piled into Ronan’s room to start prayers, he gets some one-on-one time with a sibling.  Sometimes it’s Fiona who joins him.  Other times it’s Willem.  Lots of times it’s his silly little sisters.  No matter who has a few quiet minutes before we gather at the end the day, I always hear one of the sibs ask Ronan to say something. 

Hey, Rone.  Can you say shapes?  Try it.  S-h-a-p-e-s…

I’ll sing the song but you say the word that’s missing. Ready?  I’m bringing home a baby bumble---

I found one of your favorite pages!  Say it with me, “And our fish said ‘No, no’…make that Cat go away...tell that Cat in the Hat you do not want to play…”

When he hears his favorite words being said, sung and signed by the siblings, Ronan’s eyes light up.  His interactions improve.  His verbal output attempts increase.  Squeals are squealed, and hope is restored. 

Using words or phrases from his favorite books, movies, or songs, instead of winding down for the day, everyone gets a little jacked up.  Despite how exhausted I am and how much I’d like their day to end so I can catch up on whatever I need to do, I never stop their activity.  Ronan feeds on the kids’ positive energy and communicates more in the ten minutes prior to bedtime than he’s done all day. 

When they finally do slow down for the day, the other kids gush all over that brother of theirs.  That isn’t the only time they show him any attention or affection, but it’s the time of the day that they give him all of their attention all at once.  My typical kids are active.  They love to play, run around, play, swing, play, do arts and crafts, and play.  It’s rare to see them quietly sitting still.  Ronan, on the other hand, is a couch potato.  He’d rather play Wii.  He’d rather watch YouTube videos.  He’d rather play a game on his iPad.  Trying to interact with him while he’s engaged in his preferred activities doesn’t work out so well.  We do curb screen time to make sure Ronan gets regular play time opportunities, but his underdeveloped social skills prevent him from wanting to join in on the playtime my other kids crave.  I know it’s hard for the siblings when Ronan ignores their requests to join them, but they don’t stop asking him to play.  The other night at the end of prayer time, though, I could tell that one of the siblings was getting a little frustrated.  The frustration was not toward Ronan but with why it’s sometimes hard for him to do things that she, the younger sister, can do so easily. 

Waiting until the other kids had skipped off to bed, Izzy crawled under the covers with Ronan.  I’m going to snuggle here with you, Ronan,” she said as she cozied up next to her brother.  Laying quietly next to Ronan under his favorite blankie, I could tell that she had something on her mind. 

“Mommy?” Izzy started. 

“Yes, sweetie?” I replied.

“Mommy, what if Ronan hadn’t ever gotten the flu shot?” Izzy asked.

I offered, “Life would be different, honey.”

Somewhat nervous, she lowered her voice and asked, “What if he wasn’t here?”

Pausing, I answered, “Well, life would be very, very different.”

Snuggling closer, Izzy lay still for a few minutes.  Then, she leaned in, closed her eyes, and gave Ronan a kiss on his forehead. 

After laying quietly for a few more minutes, she said, “Night, buddy.  I’m glad you’re here,” and then tiptoed out of the room

Holding back tears, I hadn’t expected my emotions to be walloped right after family prayers.  It had been a trying day.  Ronan had had a seizure earlier.  He was fine by nightfall, but in keeping seizure watch over him that afternoon, my day had been completely rearranged.  I had planned on getting caught up after prayers and to also get us ready for the next day – lunches needed to be made, laundry needed to be finished, emails needed to be returned.  All of that would wait. 

A million thoughts ran through my head.  What If.  I don’t play that game as often as I used to, but it appears that Izzy has started to.  I don’t mind.  It shows me that she’s been picking up on some of the vaccine talk that comes up in conversations she’s heard me have. 

Izzy’s gotten the abbreviated version of what happened to her big brother, but she knows completely that it didn’t have to happen.  Even as young as she is, she knows that some of the shots are worthless.  She knows that vaccine injury isn’t a one and done deal also.  The negative side effects can last quite a long time.  As we approach Ronan’s 14th birthday this week, I’ve been reminded more than ever just how much that vaccine injury affected his growth and development.  His vaccine injury affected the entire family and has done a number on my emotions.  It’s obviously done a number on Ronan’s little sister’s emotions as well.  That part is hard.  But each night as we try to find something hopeful together. 

Each night, you’ll find us gathered as a family to pray.  We pray for Ronan.  We pray for his words to come back, for his seizures to stop, and for his health to return.  Ronan’s youngest sister prays for friends’ children by name: for Brandon, for Kael, for Patrick, for Ben, for Nick, and for other kids who were in need of prayers like little Penelope.  Some nights, especially the ones that come after a rash of seizures or after I’ve been on the receiving end of Ronan’s aggression, it feels like it’s a long shot to pray.  But my kids remind me to pray and to pray always. 

So I, along with them, hold onto the hope that their brother will talk again, that he will want to play with them, and that other kids like him will be granted healing.  Healing from the physical pain and the emotional pain – with all of my heart, I welcome that.  It would take a miracle for healing that to happen.  What a miracle that would be!

 Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism. 


Pam Byrne

What a bittersweet and beautiful post! Praying for the miracle of healing for your Ronan and my Alex and all of our precious children!

Marie Simonton

Happy Birthday to Ronan! My son Jeffrey will also turn 14 this month. He is taller than I am now, yet functions at the level of a 2-year-old. My husband, younger son and I also pray for God to give him his words. God bless all the families in our situations.


Add me to the list of readers who cried when they read this too! In a world that is so often shocking to the senses because of the disregard (or downright hostility) for our vaccine injured kids, it is reassuring to know that the Jameson kids are in this world too. They have more compassion, understanding and intelligence than most adults who run the world. Thanks for sharing them with us!

Merry Christmas Jameson Family!

go Trump

Cathy, Always well written, thank you.

My prayers are always that this national nightmare will soon begin to end.

I would hope Mr. Trump calls in a number of the hot shots of the alphabet government medical groups, and if they refuse to answer some very simple questions ....that he fire them all and start criminal proceedings.

Our children have been trashed for well over 25 years as they now look for the “mysterious Autism gene.” It is well documented that they have “lied and hidden the truth” of Autism causes following very clear signals from research.

What we have in the United States is similar to the “pro-thalidomide groups” telling parents that their “deformed children” must have a genetic defects that they are trying so very, very hard to locate ... if someone would just give them another few billion dollars more.

The printed money then moves quickly from the alphabet groups to Wall Street where it “creates wealth” for a precious few.



Just a suggestion, I mentioned this yesterday:

Super Safari Level 1 Pupil's Book with DVD-ROM Jun 29, 2015

by Herbert Puchta, Günter Gerngross and Peter Lewis-Jones

There's also an activity book for each level and a teacher's guide with specific scripting. Three levels of Super Safari ESL for ages 3, 4, and 5, then Super Minds for grades 1-5. Then middle-school Connect. I think working like this to develop recognition and use of English from the ground up, one structure at a time, replacing damaged neural circuits pre-loaded with grammatical structures at birth that were then damaged by vaccine encephalitis, would help a lot of autistic kids. New neural circuits can be built just the way they are when anyone learns a foreign language. I got the ones I have at Amazon. I wish I had had them when Cecily was little. Now that she's able to ask simple questions using the structures we've practiced exhaustively for several years, you can see how much she has in her mind that was never apparent before.

Ian murray

I read your post this morning, my son Patrick is now 21, he is non verbal, servially autistic, and epileptic he is also lovely funny handsome and my little boy ( 6ft 4 inches tall) I have many views over the cause of Patrick's Autism however your post made me cry for the first time in many years. It was all about the wishes of you and your other children. There is not a day goes by I don't wish for something to break down that wall between me and my boy.
So my reason for the post is just to say a happy and lovely Christmas to you and your family and to share my Christmas wish that the fantastic advances being made in autistic research find a way of opening the door between their world and ours
Ian Murray Hampshire England U.K. X


Cathy-I cried as I read your post because I feel the same as you do. What a miracle it would be for our children to be healed and become the people they were meant to be. I pray every day for God to grant our children the miracle to be healed and for a cure. Thank you for a beautiful Sunday post.

Ted Kuntz

Vaccine injury wounds the entire family. No one is unscathed. I too have stopped playing the "what if" story in my head. It hurts too much. Now I focus my energy on loving the son I have, and trying to inform other parents on the risks of vaccines.

Tara McMillan

Its hard not to wonder what if?

It's very difficult to not appear bitter towards others-- giving them an excuse to say we are just angry parents. They do not have a vaccine injured child.

Its difficult to carry righteous anger in hopes of helping save other children.

I pray for Ronan, and others that have gone thru the fire just like him.
Our kids deserve better.

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