Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Social Media( 12/01/11)
Hello son. Good to meet you!
By Danielle King
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I LOVE SOCIAL MEDIA!
If anyone could change their mind about a topic as radically as I have - then I’ll eat my hat!
Take it from one dizzy biddy who never even mastered the highway-code or the knack of changing gear, let alone Sat-Nav, iPods ‘n’ Pads, tech gadgets ‘n’ widgets and all manner of contraptions that never was.
I can’t read a map without turning it upside down and positively hyperventilate when attempting to message via smartphone.
Life’s been too hectic to concentrate on the modern day world with all its fandangle whims ‘n’ fancies. I struggled for twelve months to get to grips with decimal currency and am still feather brained with the metric system.
But Social Media? I owe it so much! Here’s why.
My baby, who’s just turned 37, was born a bundle of pure bewilderment. A handsome beastie for sure and with fingers, toes and all the traditional bits and pieces in situ. But an unfortunate error of clinical judgement resulted in a degree of Cerebral Palsy which we were assured would be overcome in due course.
‘Due course’ failed to turn up for a while and as we waited patiently, other bizarre oddities began to manifest in our young son’s puzzling behaviour. He fought off cuddles and refused to eat. Potty training was a nightmare and he could not - or would not speak.
Of course now days Autism/Asperger’s would be diagnosed early, but back then it was seldom heard of. With no ‘Unusual Children’ manual to guide me, I eventually became consumed in a quest for Dan’s well-being, whilst he, our peculiar little man, turned our world upside down and inside out.
Husband, family, career and social life simmered away on the back burner of life, whilst I engaged all my time and energy in helping Dan to become ‘normal.’
It didn’t work of course!
A classic case of ‘the lights are on but there’s nobody home,’ Dan was transferred from primary school to ‘Special Needs’ - at that time known as ‘Educationally Sub-Normal.’
On the first day he slotted a jig-saw puzzle together, picture face down and without assistance. On day two he overheard a discussion about a missing book. He reached into the bookshelf and pulled out ‘Bunny Fluff’s Moving Day.’ The teacher was astounded. But mum wasn’t! Mum knew that Dan was in there somewhere and intended moving mountains, if necessary to find him.
Time passed. Dan grew big and strong but still wouldn’t speak, that is unless it was on his terms and when it suited him. By now it was obvious that HE knew who he was even if no-one else did!
Headstrong and unruly, he saw himself as being no different to anyone else, in spite of his funny gait and clumsy surgical boots. He became the ‘village idiot,’ the butt of the youth’s jokes and a soft target for teasing.
Owing to his vulnerability and unpredictable behaviour it was decided that he should move into ‘Supported Living’ within the community. He was excited about having his own pad.
On Dan’s 30th birthday, when asked what gift he wanted, he spoke: “Laptop!”
“Laptop?” Me and Dad chorused.
“Laptop!” Dan repeated.
We weren’t sure that he’d know which end up it went but never the less were anxious to reward the fact that he’d communicated in words, albeit just the one!
What followed was something I’d waited a long time for; beyond the day when Mark Zuckerberg’s fledgling social networking site took hold. At lightning speed, Dan found his way around his computer, set up an account and added me as a friend … ON FACEBOOK!
At last, my precious and adorable baby, resplendent with bushy red beard and lopsided grin, is introducing himself to me for the first time. He writes fluently and can spell well. He has an absurd sense of humour and laughs at himself all the time. On ‘instant chat’ the messages fly at speed between us and I’ve hammered away at the keyboard until the early hours of the morning, just for the sheer delight of conversing with my son.
I’m proud of his achievements. I admire him for being who he is and without pretence. But above all, I’m so thankful to God for trusting him to my precarious care.
I am truly blessed!
*Asperger’s is on the Autistic Spectrum of Disorders.*
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