Autism is becoming an increasingly major US epidemic with little clues to cause nor cure. Here is an article on how medications are showing little to no effect on helping to be effective against the symptoms. The number of autistic children in the U.S. alone has risen from just 15,000 in 1992 to 365,000 cases in 2010. Friends, that is significant. My son, Zach, is 8 years old and was diagnosed on the autism spectrum around the time he was 2. We have been fortunate, we got early intervention and the school district we live in had resources to help us with some special needs resources and he has flourished in those. He is healthy, he is happy, he loves his sisters, he learns about the world by observing and copying others, he can be affectionate, he is intelligent but every once in a while we see how his issues show themselves and we wonder what his future will be like in the real world. I had a bad dream a few nights ago that Zach was raised in a home that was full of conflict, he was neglected and without nurture for his heart or his issues. The look on his face was soul crushing to me. It was as if the “real world” had stolen his joy, his smile and his boyish energy. He looked hard, angry, agitated and broken. I wonder out loud if the purpose of that dream is to increase my awareness of what other kids and families are going through without the resources we have been blessed with. It is a hard road of atypical challenges, judgments from others when your kid is acting out in public, yearning for normalcy that will never happen, loneliness when your child can’t handle your nurturing touch and isolation when your child cannot speak the words and phrases they are thinking. As a parent you desire connection with your child, but it’s painful when that child down deep may want that too, but physiologically they cannot execute it in the real world. What is the future of autism in the US? I am not a medical doctor, researcher nor scientist so I can’t speak to that end. But what I am is an architect of community. Your autistic child needs community, needs people that will love them unconditionally and long for their future. They need a tribe of belonging that defines their normalcy, not a world of false hopes and aspirations. Patience is the key to working at unlocking the intelligence that is pent up within them, they need a community that is comitted to long-suffering. The hope for proper nurturing is community, not isolation. The rugged individualism of the western hemisphere, particularly in the US, is a fool’s gold, it’s an empty void of logic. Needing each other is not weakness, it’s a tribal strength. Our future is bright in authentic community, the future of autism is depending on it.