National Association of Parents of Autistic People
I am the father of U, a seven-year-old autistic child. I take advantage of the hospitality of this site to let visitors know what everyday life is like in a small Lombard community.
Positives first: U, who is in his first year at primary school, enjoys excellent interaction with his classmates, with his support teacher, with his personal teacher and the whole teaching staff. He also has a very good rapport with his psychomotor therapist in the Verano centre of the ‘La Nostra Famiglia’ association, and is well integrated into other support activities (water therapy, horseriding therapy), as well as enjoying good collaboration with the representatives of ‘La Nostra Famiglia’ in Bosisio Parini. Two local mothers, each with three children, are also available and helpful. The paradox is that, regretfully, those who are geographically closer to us (I mean literally close, i.e. opposite our house and next door to us) are in fact the furthest away from us. This situation exists, we have noticed, even within the walls of the parish centre: we are experiencing the difference between being Catholics (attending Mass as an obligation, and maintaining ‘politically correct’ relationships with other people), and being true Christians.
This ‘facade’ is not just typical of lay people but also of the clergy. A propos of which, we are trying to win over not only our curate who is younger and more sensitive, but especially our parish priest who, perhaps because of his age and training, sees things from a narrower perspective, especially in regard to unusual conditions such as disability.
What we experience is charity based on handouts rather than on the love preached by St Paul in his well-known ‘Letter to the Corinthians’, where he says that all we do, even the greatest and most admirable things, are worthless if they are not done through love and respect for our neighbours. We would like U, together with all those who possess 'diverse capabilities', as they say today, to be able to live with dignity in all respects. We would like him to be allowed to play with his friends at the Youth Club, to attend Mass and receive the sacraments since he is, to all intents and purposes, a Christian like all his peers.
We are fighting to achieve this and yet, paradoxically, even in the context of a small village, we need to break down high barriers.
I hope I haven’t been too verbose. I think it’s necessary to belong to associations such as ANGSA, who are active on many fronts. I take the opportunity to thank all those who cooperate in every way to promote its activities.