Dr. James D. MacDonald's Website
Helping Parents Help Children. Programs for Parents, Therapists & Educators
Here is a poem that reflects the stories and observations of many parents of autistic children we have known:
I tell my little boy
sit still, do something, look at me
He keeps running and
he keeps touching, and
he keeps moving on.
I don’t know what he is doing.
Where’s that little boy who
was such a "good" baby?
He used to let me hug
and kiss him
Now he doesn’t let anyone
touch him much
And he hardly ever
shows me love.
What can I do when
he runs around in circles?
It makes my head spin
around in circles
Do I have to make him stop?
When he just looked at me I melted.
And he got his way too much.
So I lost him for awhile
until I learned to stick to my guns.
For a long time I have wanted him to talk;
now I just want him to look at me.
I want him to make me feel he cares
I want him to care more about people than
He talks to himself a lot sometimes
So I know he knows something.
Why doesn’t he tell me about it?
He knows a lot but nobody else will believe me.
Then I learned neither of us could run the show.
He had to learn to be a partner,
and First I had to be his.
I tried to be a teacher.
I taught him colors and numbers,
But he stayed alone even more.
How will colors and numbers
Help him become a person?
Then I learned to play with him.
I kept him with me--I just wanted anything--safe.
I wanted to feel like a human being with him.
That’s my job--to get him to treat people like
He resisted at first--kicked and hit.
I’ll have none of that--he lost his freedom for
I wanted and accepted anything he did
Then I did something like it and kept it going.
He still resisted and tried to escape
But now he was looking at me,
Especially when I acted like him.
And for now, I didn’t need words yet.
His looks were worth more
Than diamonds to me
And I knew we were on our way.