Liz Becker, author of ‘Autism and the World According to Matt’
Part one of this article can be found here
The special bond between Liz and Matt is shown throughout his journey. One particular story tells of how Matt and Liz, who took the plunge one day in allowing Matt to shop alone at the annual Labor Day flea market event in which 50,000 people attended. Every parent of an autistic child will be able to identify in how this was such a huge step for both Liz and Matt.
‘This would be the year that Matt was finally allowed to walk alone, shop alone, go where he wanted to go and just blend in…I knew in my gut that it was time and he was ready.’
Liz then goes on to write:
‘So I knew my son was ready because of practice-years and years of practice. The big question really, was I? Was I ready to let go-even for 90 minutes-in a crowd so large?’
We then went on to ask Liz her opinion on if and how autism services have changed over the years.
She told us that there were no autism services 28 years ago when Matt was growing up. Liz told us that there was nothing specifically devoted to or even related to autism services as autism was such a rare condition, 1:10,000.
Liz continues to add that there was no Internet, no parent support groups and no medical information. She had to be very proactive with regards to Matt’s education and would write his IEP before having the meeting with staff.
Liz studied and then worked when Matt was younger; this she told us was through necessity rather than choice.
When she was a student she involved her children in student life as much as possible.
“I involved my kids in as many ways possible, from going to campus with me to plays and sporting events. It was an all-in-the-family experience. Several of my professors met my brood and were use to seeing them with me.”
We asked Liz to tell us about her website which has lots of useful information and resources about autism and related issues, the website states:
‘I was asked once, “How does one person change the world?” My reply was, “One story at a time”. The diagnosis of autism was a rare one back in 1988 – only 1:10,000 affected. Then the numbers grew…..and people began to notice.’
Liz told us that anyone can sign up to be a member and it is free to do so. There is also a members area.
“I have a members area that allows for communication between members to be more discreet – which I think allows people to speak freely if they know they are not being judged.”
Liz is in the process of writing her second book ‘Autism and the Basics of Non-verbal Communication’ which she hopes to have published this time next year.
“It covers all the other nuances of communication and how my autistic son used these various communication methods to help me understand him. I talk about the brain, the neural connections and give examples how this plays out in a non-verbal child.”
“25% of autistic children are non-verbal…. Parents could use a little help.”
We finally asked what advice Liz would give to other parents who are starting out on their diagnostic journey and seeking help.
“Parents hearing the diagnosis are usually hit pretty hard emotionally and tend to lose hope. Where would I be and where would Matt be if I had lost hope? So, the very first thing they need to do is allow them selves to hope.”
“Their child is still there under all those autistic behaviors and it’s up them to see it – they are the only ones who really can.”
What instantly strikes you as a reader is the fact that Liz sees the world through Matts eyes and that by doing so she is able to help and guide him through life.
This is reiterated by Liz’s final comment:
“Once they see, really, really see their child they will understand that their child fits no mould and this makes them unique to the world. The parents are the only expert their child will ever have, and they will want to take that responsibility to heart. If they can do that, well, then anything is possible . . . right”