“I love you Grandma”

A gentle natured, happy and loving baby boy was born thirteen years ago. As a baby, he cried if he heard a sad song. A brother to two older sisters, he is much loved, even though he has autistic “meltdowns” which are beyond his control. As my grandson Damon loses it, he screams unbelievably horrible, sickening words to his mother, smashes furniture or throws things around in an unrestrainable rage. He becomes extremely strong during these times. He needs to adhere to a strict daily routine and sometimes that’s not even enough. His stimming movements are becoming violent as he twists with jerks and kicks and taps the back of his head repeatedly. You cannot joke with him as he takes every word literally. However, when normal, he’ll give me a hug, says, “I love you Grandma” or wants to go for a walk with me. He can be extremely polite, loving, caring and considerate and after a meltdown, is very sad and remorseful.

Damon started high school this year. We fear for him! Will he be understood and accepted? Many people don’t understand or recognise the symptoms, and that’s mainly through ignorance. At times, when I went out with Sally and Damon, if he “lost it” people would often stare and glare, as if the parent was at fault. There was one occasion when a lady made a negative comment, and my daughter, angrily and emotionally, remonstrated with her. That same lady, later in the day, came up to Sally and apologised. Sally, because of her faith, knew that the Holy Spirit was at work. She also believes that God works in mysterious ways, and that Damon is her son for a reason, not that she always understands that reason as she watches Damon battle his inner demons! At thirteen, while his mind is in that awful place, we all feel so helpless! My heart breaks for Damon, Sally and her family!