Thursday, September 1, 2011

Rain or Shine: synopsis

Rain or Shine is autobiographical. It is about my son, his autistic disorder and my struggles.

Lennert was diagnosed with autistic disorder when he was four. Needless to say, his condition has brought big changes to our family life. In this book, I try to describe autism through drawings and words, through a mother’s desperate and fascinated eyes.

In a person’s life (in this case, my life), one never expects someday to give birth to a special child who needs extra care or has physical or mental limitations. It comes first as a shock. One needs to learn to accept it. I had to learn to accept what life has in for me. Meanwhile I needed to learn to understand autism (in general) and Lennert’s conditions. And teaching Lennert mundane living skills such as dressing, washing and eating was a long and tiring everyday struggle.

I was a trained and certified architect. When we found out about Lennert’s autism, I had three jobs- practicing in an architectural bureau, teaching in TU Delft and writing magazine columns. I pushed my architect-and motherly-self to the ultimate limit and hoped that all the efforts will make everything OK.

Autism crushes me down but Lennert brought me light and enjoy. He always shows me the important things which I started forgetting as I grew older. When Lennert was five, he was transferred to a special school for children with communication handicaps, where he was able to develop and learn. He started to flourish. At this turning point, my physical and mental health started to crumble. I could no longer pretend to be the super woman I wished to be.

With great pain and struggles, I came to terms with my new reality and stopped my career as an architect so I can focus on my family. I don’t know what my future will be but I know if I am always there for Lennert, he will have a chance.

Is Lennert ever going to be OK? I will do anything and go anywhere he needs- rain or shine. And maybe someday, my little boy will find a place of his own in this big unknown world.