Raising my son, Giaci

By Rita Miceli | Published on July 23, 2020 | 2 Minute Read

Raising a child with Autism was not what I imagined for myself when I walked down the aisle over 27 years ago. The thought had never crossed my mind that the children of two well-educated people would be anything other than above average. And, at first, it seemed as though it would be that way. We were blessed to have had four children, all within three and a half years of age; my oldest daughter, Lauren, my son, Giaci and then twin daughters, Carolina and Maria Rosa. For the first year and a half of my son’s life, everything seemed fine. He met all his developmental marks on time or before, but by the time he was two, it became apparent that something had gone horribly wrong. When other children talked and babbled, my son was strangely silent. After shuttling him around from doctor to doctor for a year, I still was left with the impression that I was overreacting and that if he had something to say he would say it. Although Giaci had some impressive abilities in spelling words and incredible computer skills, the awful feeling in my stomach would not go away. I began to research everything I could find and soon discovered that we were the parents of a child with Autism. After this devastating realization, we searched to find a remedy to help alleviate our son’s condition. We put him on a nutritional treatment, speech therapy, occupational therapy, cranial sacral therapy, sensory system program, music therapy and most importantly intensive behavioural intervention. Advice from the professionals was that “early intervention is key for best outcomes” in applying behavioural intervention; which is what we did. My son responded well with slow and steady learning. Years later; Giaci continues to show tremendous progress.

Throughout the many struggles we have faced, I often wondered ‘why’ was I chosen to be the mother of a child with Autism. God does everything to perfection, but where is the perfection in my child? My son cannot understand things as other children do. Despite his inabilities are his abilities to affect those around him. I have often seen other children extend their hands to my son, trying to include him in their games. I have seen it in teachers, who refuse to see my son’s disability as a handicap, or believe that he is capable of anything less than any other child. And I have seen it in church, schools, and organized sports activities who have welcomed my son into their programs with open arms.

It has been a long road since Giaci’s diagnosis, he is now 24 years old. We take one day at a time, address issues as they arise and celebrate everything, even the small things. Never has there been a day when I did not rejoice that Giaci has come into my life. Often, when I get hugs and kisses and we play all the games we enjoy, I cherish these special moments. I look into those big, clear green eyes, and never, I say to myself has God created a more perfect child than this. Giaci has taught me many things about Autism, but more importantly about life. He has been my most tenacious teacher. Through him, I have come to see Autism as a unique culture in itself, and individuals with Autism as people merely living in a different framework than ours. They don’t have a disease you can catch. They just don’t communicate and socialize with people in the same ways that we do. Along with their differences is a universe of unique lessons they offer us to enrich our lives. We just need to look.

About the Author

Rita Miceli is passionate about educating, advocating and bringing awareness to Autism. Her world was changed forever when her only son was diagnosed at a young age. She has spent almost thirty years as an educator of students of all ages, from elementary school to professionals in the Autism program at St Clair College. She lives in Windsor, Ontario, Canada with her love of 27 years and amazing four children.