Tiger Lee is seriously autistic. During his first few years of life, he rarely stopped screaming, fought against bathing, couldn’t stand to be put in his car seat ….
Last night I stayed with the Lee family near Salem, Oregon. After reading Linda’s book online that morning, I was distinctly nervous about what I would find. A screaming child, exhausted parents, a resentful brother? Instead I found a happy, hospitable family.
I asked Linda how this transformation had come about. She explained that once Tiger was finally diagnosed, she had got online and researched tirelessly to find out how to make their lives more tolerable. ‘I was desperate’, she admits. And who wouldn’t be? Her researches led to changes in Tiger’s diet which had made an enormous difference.
Now her mission in life is to help other families affected by autism, primarily by educating physicians so they can make an early diagnosis of the disorder. She hasn’t let a lack of relevant skills hold her back from setting up a website (see Help Autism Now), producing a book, an educational pamphlet for physicians, a TV commercial and an information film. (The book can be read online – see Jason’s Story.)
‘And there’s so much more I want to do’, she said, ‘there just aren’t enough hours in the day.’ I can relate to that.
‘Paul has got a good metaphor for it.’ She turned to her husband. ‘The plate of food?’ he said. ‘Yes, it’s like you have this plate with a pile of food on it. You keep trying to fit more food on, but it’s already full, so when you put more on over here, food falls off over there. There’s a limit to how much you can fit on.’
‘But I still keep trying to pile more food on anyway’, Linda said. ‘Hmmm, me too,’ I agreed, thinking of the book, the speeches, the documentary, the Pacific…’ so where can I get a BIGGER PLATE?!’
(Paul, Jason and Linda Lee – Tiger had gone to bed by the time we got around to photos)