I have just finished the translation from English to Spanish of a research paper on certain aspects of Autism.
I have a personal interest in the subject.
Several years ago, back in Spain I knew a lovely young couple in my group of friends. They were newly married, very sweet, often invited friends round to dinner and were just great company.
They very much wanted to start a family but getting a first baby did not seem to happen. They did not see any specialist or try any special method to get conception. They did not talk about their disappointment to everyone but I knew of it and knew that they really did want a baby.
Quiet unexpectedly all of a sudden she became pregnant and I can tell you then there were big celebrations. It was also like the pregnancy made it possible to talk about the worries they had had when it seemed like it might not happen.
There were dinners, laughs, jokes. I remember people saying things like: “so what do you want boy or girl? You two are going to be busy now, you will have to brush up your football skills or maybe your child will like swimming or the theatre. You two are not going to get so much free time now!”
And it was perfectly obvious that they did not want free time: they wanted a family, a baby.
About that time I moved to England and I lost contact with the lovely couple but this is what I have heard.
The baby arrived and quite soon as it was developing it started to be obvious that everything was not alright. The child was diagnosed with Autism and it was serious.
Life became very hard indeed for them and they found it very difficult to cope. They seemed to lose their joy of life and started to ask what they must have done wrong to create a child like this and then they went on to blaming each other.
Eventually they got divorced.
We hear so much talk nowadays about an inclusive society where everyone is equal and must have the same rights and that I think is surely a good thing. But no one wants to bring a child into the world who is ill. And it really does not help when society seems to say: “of so you have a child who is very ill, very sorry to hear that but the doctors are great aren’t they, they can do so much these days”
It is never enough.
We always need more help.
Every single research paper is potentially another step forward.
Every small piece of understanding is absolutely valuable.
Even if the conclusion of the research is asking questions and suggesting futher research it is still part of that journey towards a better hope for sufferers; for the patient, for the family for everyone.
I ask myself what I can do. I have no money, I cannot make a grant to the university research departments.
All I can do is hope that my translation from English to Spanish might one day help communication about Autism, help increase global interest in this condition and ultimately be my tiny drop in the ocean, my tiny grain of sand to support the work in this field.