Well maybe not quite a thousand, but no one has really counted.
Max is a teenager and most days after school he spends the afternoons at his grandmother’s house. He finds comfort in computer games and arts and crafts. There’s always paper around for him to cut out stars or numbers. His most recent project is paper chains, or as he calls it “making circles.”
His grandmother, Judy Warrens, started to collect the chains and hang them up on the ceiling of her basement. The area is now almost completely filled with them and she is trying to look for a new project. But for the time being Judy was excited to share a glimpse into Max’s mind.
At a young age he was diagnosed with autism and, at first, Judy wasn’t sure what to make of it. A close friend shared a beautifully written poem called Welcome To Holland by Emily Perl Kingsley. In it, she expresses what it’s like to raise a child with autism. She compares it to planning a trip to Italy. Before arriving, you might would research the Coliseum and Michelangelo’s David.
You may also try to learn some of the language and plan your sightseeing schedule. But imagine that once the plane lands, the flight attendant announces, “Welcome to Holland!” You would be confused because you were expecting Italy but now you are in an unfamiliar place where you must learn a new language and a new way of life. It’s not that this unfamiliar place is bad, but it’s definitely different than Italy.
These are the sentiments Judy can relate to. Holland is still a beautiful place in its own right. And here she has learned things she never would have if she was in Italy.
Written by Raiza Belarmino